By Christie L. Chicoine

CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – Cardinal Justin Rigali ordained six priests for the Philadelphia Archdiocese Saturday, May 16, at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.

“It’s probably the happiest day of my life,” said Father John R. Weber, 27, whose home parish is SS. Philip and James Parish in Exton, Chester County. “Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a priest. That’s finally come true.”

The son of Robert and Regina Weber said a highlight of the ordination for him was when the Cardinal anointed his hands with the sacred chrism. That night, Father Weber planned to pray that he would be a good and faithful priest for the rest of his life, starting with his first assignment as a parochial vicar at St. Stanislaus Parish in Lansdale, Montgomery County.

Perseverance helped pave the way to the priesthood for Father Jonathan J. Dalin, 36, whose home parish is St. Charles Borromeo in Washington Township, N.J., Diocese of Camden. Father Dalin was raised in St. Philip Neri Parish in South Philadelphia. He is a former administrator of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Department for Pro-Life Activities. The son of Thomas and Christine Dalin entered St. Charles Seminary in 1995, left the seminary in 1999, then returned in 2006.

“It’s been an amazing return to the seminary,” he said. “To finish up ordained a priest and to serve the people of Philadelphia, I’m extremely happy.”

A highlight of the Mass for Father Dalin was the investiture with stole and chasuble. At that time, the assisting priests came forward to change the stoles of the newly ordained from those of deacons to priests.

Father Dalin chose as his assisting priest Msgr. Louis A. D’Addezio, director of the archdiocesan Office for Special Projects and Closures.

“He was so instrumental in bringing me back into considering the priesthood,” he said. “Msgr. D’Addezio never let me give up on the vocation.”

Father Dalin has been assigned parochial vicar of St. Eleanor Parish in Collegeville, Montgomery County. “I can’t wait to serve them,” he said.

As he walked past his numerous family members, friends and other faithful during the processional and recessional, Father Richard J. Smith, 26, considered how he, as a priest, could help bring them even closer to Christ. That flood of hope hit him “wave after wave after wave,” he said. “It’s still hitting me, and I hope it continues to hit me just as powerfully when I’m celebrating my 50th [jubilee].”

The son of James and Susan Smith of St. John the Baptist Parish in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, Father Smith has been assigned parochial vicar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Morton, Delaware County. “I look forward to bringing Jesus to all of you,” he said.

The priesthood “is so worth it,” said Father Michael G. Speziale, 25, whose home parish is St. David Parish in Willow Grove, Montgomery County. “Celebrating Mass and giving everything to the Church, to God and to His people, what a privilege it is.”

As he recessed from the Cathedral, the son of Frank and Linda Speziale felt a sense of peace as he realized he was now part of the fraternity of priests.

Father Speziale has been assigned parochial vicar of St. Anastasia Parish in Newtown Square, Delaware County. “I’m going to give them my all and do my best to be that good, holy, faithful priest that we’ve learned about so much at the seminary.”

With hands extended over the candidates, the Cardinal pronounced the prayer of ordination. The laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration together constitute the essential elements of the sacrament of holy orders.

It was then that Father Jeffrey M. Rott, 30, the son of Mark and Rachele Rott of St. Eleanor Parish in Collegeville, realized, “Now, I’m ‘Father.'”

Father Rott has been assigned parochial vicar of SS. Simon and Jude Parish in West Chester, Chester County. “They have a lot to teach me,” he said. “Today is just the beginning.”

Lying prostrate before the altar during the Litany of the Saints was heart-rending to Father Anthony T. Rossi, 27, the son of John Sr. and MaryLouise Rossi.

Raised in St. John of the Cross Parish in Roslyn, Montgomery County, his home parish for the past decade has been Corpus Christi in Upper Gwynedd.

Father Rossi has one request of the parishioners of St. David Parish in Willow Grove, where he has been assigned parochial vicar. “Be good to me. I’m very happy and willing to serve.”

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or