By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
PHILADELPHIA – In keeping with a long-standing tradition, on May 19 Philadelphia’s six newly ordained priests, Fathers Jonathan J. Dalin, Anthony Rossi, Jeffrey M. Rott, Richard J. Smith, Michael G. Speziale and John Weber concelebrated Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church in Center City, then were guests of honor at a luncheon hosted by the Serra Clubs of Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Union League. Also present were family, pastors, priest friends and high school students.
A surprise visitor at the luncheon was Cardinal Justin Rigali who stopped in to congratulate them and also give tribute to the Serrans, whose sole mission is the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
“I want to reiterate the esteem the Church has for Serra International, for the wonderful work it has done, and how proud we are to have Serra in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and all of you who support the great cause of the priesthood,” the Cardinal said. “Thank you for your fidelity.”
Earlier, the principal celebrant and homilist of the Mass was Bishop Joseph R. Cistone, who took time out from an obviously busy schedule to be with the newly ordained priests and the Serrans. Afterwards he left for the airport to fly to Saginaw, Mich. for the official announcement the next day of his appointment as bishop of that diocese.
His homily focused on the reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which recounts how Paul and Silas chose not to escape from prison when given the opportunity for fear of getting their harsh jailer in trouble and through this converted him and his family.
“The priest is sent to win souls, to find the lost sheep,” Bishop Cistone told the newly ordained. “It is much more comfortable for us as priests to just hang and associate with those who think the way we think and are comfortable with what we preach. [But] every single person in the world is important to the Lord.”
Currently there are four Serra clubs in the Archdiocese: the Serra Club of Philadelphia, the Dorchester Serra Club, the Serra Club of Central Delaware County and the Serra Club of Northeast Philadelphia.
“The Serra clubs of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are most pleased to be able to support the Annual Pastors Ordinati Mass and Luncheon,” said Arthur J. Burke, regional governor for Serra. “The concelebrated Mass, personal message from each of the priests and inspanidual blessings for Serrans and their guests combine to make it an inspiring event for all those who attend, including the high school students.”
“This year’s event was especially noteworthy in having Bishop Cistone celebrate the Mass at St. John’s before assuming his new duties as bishop of Saginaw and in having his Eminence graciously visit us during our luncheon,” said Eugene Boggia, president of the Serra Club of Philadelphia. “The Serra clubs of the Philadelphia Archdiocese fully recognize the importance of developing and sustaining vocations to maintain the strength of our sacramental Church, which has provided us with so many blessings.”
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103