By TARA CONNOLLY Staff writer
Bishop of Allentown Alfred Schlert ordained the Diocese’s newest priest June 2 while presiding at his first Ordination of a Priest at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown.
Bishop Schlert was the principal celebrant and ordaining prelate for the Mass and Ordination Rite where John Hutta II was raised to the order of priest and became a living instrument of Christ.
“God has blessed us today with a new priest and servant. Today is a sign of God’s goodness to his people and to the people of the Diocese of Allentown,” said Bishop Schlert.
After the Gospel reading, Bishop Schlert initiated the Rite of Ordination with the calling and presentation of the candidate to the Bishop as a sign of worthiness for ordination.
At the consent of the people, the congregation indicated their acceptance of the Bishop's decision to ordain Father Hutta by applauding.
Bishop Schlert then examined the candidate's willingness to embrace the duties and obligations of the priestly office, before Father Hutta kneeled before him and vowed to obey him and his successors.
Next, the Bishop invited all present to pray for Father Hutta as he prostrated himself before the altar as a sign of his submission before God during the Litany of Saints.
Rising to his feet, Father Hutta knelt before Bishop Schlert again for the Laying on of Hands. This gesture, together with the Prayer of Consecration, is the outward sign of the ordination to the Order of Priests. In a like manner, those priests present imitated the motion as a sign of oneness of the priesthood they share.
The rite continued with the Prayer of Consecration and the Investiture with Stole and Chasuble with vesting priest Monsignor Joseph DeSantis, pastor of Holy Rosary, Reading and Sacred Heart, West Reading. Bishop Schlert then performed the Anointing of Hands with sacred chrism.
The ordination concluded with the Bishop and priests welcoming the new priest into the presbyteral order with a fraternal kiss of peace.
In his remarks, Bishop Schlert thanked Father Hutta’s family, friends and fellow priests for supporting him and encouraging him to follow his vocation.
“No priestly vocation is formed on its own. A priest needs family and friends to support him. Thank you for bringing him to the altar today,” he said.
With a decline in vocations to the religious life, Bishop Schlert maintained that generous men are responding to God’s call and urged parents to also be generous in giving the Church a son to the priesthood or a daughter to the religious life.
“Please don’t be stingy. So many blessings flow from this life,” he asked.
In addition, Bishop Schlert pointed out that a man contemplating marriage is also a good sign that he may make a good priest.
“If you want to get married, you also give something up. Don’t excuse the priesthood or religious life,” he advised.
As priests, Bishop Schlert said they are configured to Christ and offer the sacrifice of the Mass in the person of Christ.
He also pointed out the meaning of the question asked during Promise of the Elect:
“Do you resolve to be united more closely every day to Christ the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a pure Sacrifice, and with him to consecrate yourselves to God for the salvation of all?”
“This is really the foundation of the priesthood. It is living a sacrificial life,” said Bishop Schlert.
In living a sacrificial life, he told Father Hutta that sacrifice is not possible without deep prayer and there is not priesthood without the sacrifice of the Mass.
“We aren’t living a sacrificial life if we are without a generous commitment to putting the Church first and others first for the glory of God,” he said.
“And I ask all of you here today to pray that we may be worthy as priests and courageous in our sacrifices,” said Bishop Schlert.
After his ordination, Father Hutta called the ceremony “a beautiful and humbling experience” and reflected on some components of the rite.
“Laying on the floor was a total act of freedom of love and seeing my loved ones before me who have passed on in this life,” he said.
“The sign of peace of my brother priests was a homecoming of welcoming a son home again and a festival to begin. I am truly blessed and thanks be to God and for giving me his shepherd’s heart,” said Father Hutta.
Father Hutta’s first priestly assignment will be assistant pastor of Holy Rosary, Reading and Sacred Heart, West Reading. He will also be assigned to Hospital Ministry at Reading Hospital-Tower Health, Reading.
Principal concelebrants were Bishop Edward Cullen, bishop emeritus of Allentown, and Bishop Timothy Senior, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia.
Other concelebrants were priests of the Diocese of Allentown and visiting clergy.