By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
COPPELL — Calling it a “joyful day,” Bishop Edward J. Burns offered a message to the six men being ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Dallas on June 5 at St. Ann Catholic Church.
“We need you,” the bishop said. “We need you to stay strong. We need you to be faithful. We need you to be holy. We need you to be chaste. We need you to struggle when it is not easy. And we need to pray for you and to lift you up in prayer before God in thanksgiving for you. We, your family and friends, your co-workers in the vineyard, we rejoice with this day.”
Bishop Burns ordained Father Samuel Martinez Hernández, Father Adam Mariusz Musielak, Father Desmond Ndikum, Father Ricardo Regalado Jiménez, Father Juan Torres and Father Andrés Felipe Vives Andrade.
Answering the call
In his homily, Bishop Burns recalled the words of Pope John Paul II from Sept. 12, 2001, the day after the tragic attacks on the U.S., which noted that “the presence of the priest brings hope into the lives of those who suffer.”
“The life and ministry of priests is what brings Christ into this world and to the people who are in such dire need of His healing, His love, His presence, and His compassion,” Bishop Burns said.
Two decades later, new challenges faced the faithful as a pandemic gripped the world. Bishop Burns in his homily praised the efforts of Dallas diocesan priests and, in particular, the young priests who “stepped forward to lessen burdens of their more seasoned brothers and became what we called COVID priests.”
“They went through the training. They went through the protocols. They went through all the red tape in order to gain access and to be at the bedside of people who suffered through their last moments on earth alone,” the bishop said. “Their families could not be with them, but there was a priest by their side, binding them close to Jesus Christ, who came to suffer for our sakes so that we might have life in Him.”
The bishop praised all priests of the diocese, who through technology found ways to televise and livestream Masses so that the “people of God who hunger and thirst from afar” could share in the celebration of the Eucharist.
And Bishop Burns said he was proud of the six men who have stepped forward today to set much aside in order to follow Jesus Christ and lay down their lives in service of God’s holy people.
“I am proud of these six men who I call brothers and who will work with me as their bishop, side by side, in order to bring Christ to the people and to bring the people to Jesus Christ,” the bishop said. “They will exhaust themselves — in that holy exhaustion of proclaiming the Gospel message and celebrating Jesus Christ, through Word and sacraments.”
Six new priests
Father Musielak, 34, a native of Warsaw, Poland, said the first time he felt the call to the priesthood was at the age of six. However, it was as a teenager, through the catechesis of the Neocatechumenal Way, he received “an announcement of the great love of God” toward him.
“These simple words supported by the testimony of those who preached to me moved me very much, giving me a lot of hope and enkindling in me the desire to follow Christ,” he said.
Father Musielak, who spent his diaconate assignment at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson, will begin his priestly ministry as a parochial vicar at St. Patrick Catholic Church.
Born in Buea, Cameroon, Father Ndikum, 29, moved to the United States at 17, following his mother’s death. He said he first felt the call to priesthood as a child serving at Mass.
“The celebration led by the priest was captivating, and I heard this story in a homily about Christ asking for arms and inviting us to be his arms,” Father Ndikum said. “I thought, well, I could be his arms.”
From that day, Father Ndikum said he always felt he wanted to be a priest.
“Given where I am standing today, I know God has led me to exactly what He wants me to do and where He wants me to be,” the newly-ordained priest said.
Father Ndikum, who attended seminary at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana, said as a new priest, he looks forward to celebrating the sacraments with the people of God.
“I am looking forward to being with people in a very special way in their times of joys and in their times of sorrow,” he said.
Father Ndikum’s pastoral year assignment was at St. Patrick Catholic Church. He has been assigned as a parochial vicar at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in McKinney and Holy Family Quasi-Parish in Van Alstyne.
Father Vives, 31, a native of San José, Costa Rica, said he first felt the call to priesthood after being introduced to the Neocatechumenal Way by his parents at the age of 14.
“At 16 years old, I began attending vocational meetings to help discern my vocation,” he recalled. “A year and a half later, God helped me to discern my desire to enter a missionary seminary.”
Father Vives said he was then invited to attend a retreat in Italy to be sent to a Redemptoris Mater Seminary; these seminaries are both diocesan and missionary.
“When it was time to draw the names of those to be sent to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Dallas, my name was drawn,” he said. “It was thus how, according to God’s plan for my life, I was assigned to become a seminarian for the Diocese of Dallas.”
Father Vives has been assigned as a parochial vicar at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson.
Father Martínez, 31, was born in Valencia, Spain, finding his way to Dallas as a seminarian at Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
“Thanks to the Neocatechumenal Way, God has brought me to a deeper knowledge of Him who has called me to enter the seminary,” Father Martínez said. “I am truly grateful to the Lord for having chosen me to live a life in communion with Him.”
Father Martínez served his pastoral year at St. Jude Catholic Church in Allen. He has been assigned as a parochial vicar at St. Ann Catholic Church in Coppell.
Born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Father Juan Torres, 33, moved to Texas in 2002 when he was in the eighth grade.
Father Torres said he received his call to the priesthood while attending a Cursillo retreat.
Father Torres attended seminary at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He served his pastoral year at St. Ann Catholic Church in 2018 and his diaconate assignment at St. Mary Catholic Church in Sherman. He has been assigned as a parochial vicar at San Juan Diego Catholic Church.
“I feel blessed to be a priest for the Diocese of Dallas,” he said.
Father Regalado, 34, a native of Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, said that though at times his priestly formation presented challenges, he felt God always provided him the grace necessary to make the formation a “gentle yoke.”
“The Lord has given me a desire to know Him through the reading of the Holy Scriptures and through the reading of the life of the saints, who have provided me an example of how to search for the Lord during good times and difficult ones,” he said.
Father Regalado attended Redemptoris Mater Seminary and served his diaconate assignment at Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Church. He has been assigned as a parochial vicar at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Plano.