June 10, 2011

'Priestly ministry is awesome': Deacon Dustin Boehm ordained to the priesthood

During the June 4 ordination Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, several priests look on as Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, left, auxiliary bishop and vicar general, asks questions of transitional Deacon Dustin Boehm, right, to determine if he is willing to carry out the duties of the priesthood. Assisting Bishop Coyne is seminarian Martin Rodriguez. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

During the June 4 ordination Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, several priests look on as Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, left, auxiliary bishop and vicar general, asks questions of transitional Deacon Dustin Boehm, right, to determine if he is willing to carry out the duties of the priesthood. Assisting Bishop Coyne is seminarian Martin Rodriguez. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

In his nine years of priestly formation, transitional deacon Dustin Boehm followed the Lord around the world to seminaries in Minnesota and southern Indiana, and also to Guatemala, France, Italy and Spain.

The last steps in his winding journey were taken on June 4 as he processed down the center aisle of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis to be ordained a priest.

“It was an overwhelming moment just to see all of the people there so representative of God’s grace and God’s love, and also their love,” Father Boehm said after the ordination liturgy about processing into the cathedral. “It was an absolute gift. It was so humbling, [thinking about] what was about to happen.”

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, auxiliary bishop and vicar general, was the principal celebrant at the Mass. He was joined by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, who preached the homily. It was the archbishop’s first public ministry since he suffered a mild stroke on March 18. (Related: See a photo gallery from this event)

At the start of the Mass, Bishop Coyne thanked Archbishop Buechlein for his presence, and the approximately 500 people and 70 priests in attendance gave the archbishop a sustained round of applause.

During the homily, Archbishop Buechlein spoke to Deacon Boehm minutes before he would be ordained a priest.

“Priestly ministry is awesome,” Archbishop Buechlein said. “You will be able to serve because of God’s special grace, which you receive in the sacrament of holy orders this morning. God’s grace will accompany you all the days of your life.”

The archbishop gave Deacon Boehm encouragement and advice during the homily. One piece of counsel was to lean heavily on Christ as well as on the first bishop of Vincennes and Indiana’s first saint during difficult days in his priestly ministry.

“[Christ] will draw you to himself and tell you, ‘Do not fear. I am with you. I will not abandon you,’ ” Archbishop Buechlein said. “Keep in mind Bishop [Simon] Bruté and Mother Theodore [Guérin]. They are courageous witnesses of Christ’s companionship along our missionary journey.”

After the Mass, Father Boehm said he may have learned the most simply from the archbishop’s presence at his ordination.

“I felt such tremendous love for him as a father,” Father Boehm said. “The fact that he was there, the fact that it would have been easier for him to stay at home, the fact that he got out and did what he was called to do was so instructive in my own life and for what I’m called to do now.

“There’s no room for sitting around in the rectory when people are in need … when people are asking to be anointed or people are asking for viaticum, when somebody is asking for confession.”

Father Boehm’s parents are members of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood.

Kenny Boehm said that he cried “tears of joy” when he saw his son laying prostrate on the floor of the cathedral during the praying of the Litany of the Saints.

“The man wants to serve people,” Kenny Boehm said. “He wants to help. He loves to help. He loves to serve.”

Kelli Boehm was impressed when she saw her son, wearing a priest’s chasuble for the first time, take his place in the cathedral’s sanctuary surrounded by his brother priests.

“When you look up and you see him as one of the priests, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh. It’s done. He’s there,’ ” she said. “It was very meaningful.”

Father Boehm’s younger brother, Adam, who attended the ordination with his expectant wife, Maria, and their two young children, also saw deep meaning in watching his brother leave his family in the congregation, where he sat prior to being ordained, and join the priests around the altar.

“It was almost like I would view it if he got married. He’d be giving himself to his wife,” Adam said. “It was just a very amazing experience to see him join the priesthood and see all of his new brothers. I’m not his only brother anymore. He has a bunch.”

One priest in that group is Father Todd Goodson, pastor of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis, where Father Boehm will minister as associate pastor starting in July.

“I’ve heard nothing but great reviews about him,” said Father Goodson of his new brother priest. “He’s got a lot of energy. He’s young. We’re very excited to have him at St. Monica.”

Bishop Coyne began ministering in the archdiocese three months ago and, as a new bishop, this was the first time that he has ordained a man to the priesthood.

“As I stood and watched my fellow clergy impose hands on Father Boehm’s head, I couldn’t help but think how many good and faithful priests are present here in the archdiocese,” Bishop Coyne said after the liturgy. “I am blessed to know them, and the archdiocese is blessed to have them as their priests.”

(To learn more about vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, log on to www.HearGodsCall.com.)

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