June 13, 2014

Four men are ordained priests during June 7 liturgy at cathedral

Newly ordained Fathers Daniel Bedel, left, Benjamin Syberg, Timothy Wyciskalla and David Marcotte join Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin and several priests behind them in praying part of the eucharistic prayer during a June 7 ordination Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Earlier during the liturgy, Archbishop Tobin ordained the four men to the priesthood. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Newly ordained Fathers Daniel Bedel, left, Benjamin Syberg, Timothy Wyciskalla and David Marcotte join Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin and several priests behind them in praying part of the eucharistic prayer during a June 7 ordination Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Earlier during the liturgy, Archbishop Tobin ordained the four men to the priesthood. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Moments before he was to ordain four men to the priesthood on June 7 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin reflected on the mysterious relationship of seeing and believing.

Listening to his homily that day were transitional deacons Daniel Bedel, David Marcotte, Benjamin Syberg and Timothy Wyciskalla—and the nearly 1,000 people who came to the cathedral to witness the joyous ordination.

(Related: Watch a video of the Mass | See a photo gallery)

“Our faith is not simply the ability to assent or say, ‘Yes,’ to a number of propositions,” Archbishop Tobin said. “It’s also a way of seeing, of seeing life and life’s mysteries in a different way.

“What we see also depends on what we believe.”

Hundreds of sets of eyes at the ordination took in the many centuries-old rituals that deeply appeal to the senses. The eyes of the men being ordained, their relatives, a priest who guided the men through four years of priestly formation and a priest who is a brother of one of the men were all impressed by different aspects of the rite.

Each of these people reflected on what they saw—and in one case didn’t see—in the moments after the liturgy. (See our photo spread from the print edition)

At the start of the rite of ordination, each of the deacons was called by name. Sitting among their family in the front row of seats in the cathedral, they stood up and said, “Present.”

That small act was an emotional one for Mike Wyciskalla, father of Father Timothy Wyciskalla.

“It was his first step in becoming a priest,” said Mike Wyciskalla, a member of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis. “Now he’s starting a new life, a new calling. At that point, it kind of took over.”

A few minutes later, the deacons laid prostrate on the floor of the cathedral, symbolizing placing themselves totally in the hands of God for the life and ministry they are about to take up. At the same time, the litany of the saints was chanted.

“I felt the power of the whole Church in heaven and on Earth praying for me, supporting me,” said Father Wyciskalla. “At that moment, you really sort of realize that you’re not in this alone. Christ has called us, but he’s also given us the support we need.”

A little later came a key moment in the rite of ordination—Archbishop Tobin prayerfully laying his hands upon the heads of the deacons.

“That’s when everything zeroed in and became focused,” Father Bedel said. “What happened just clicked. After that, I couldn’t stop smiling. I realized what had just happened. After that, all the nervousness went away. It was just me enjoying the gift of the vocation that God gave me.” (Related story: Newly ordained priest says prayer partner is ‘like second mother’)

Moments later, more than 80 priests present at the ordination each laid hands on the four transitional deacons, whose heads were bowed in prayer during the ritual.

“I couldn’t see the face of each of the priests who came and laid their hands on me,” said Father Wyciskalla. “It was almost like an anonymous cloud of witnesses. All the priests you were joining were there. You also had the feeling of joining all the ones who have gone before us.”

After the priests laid hands on the men about to join them in the presbyterate of the archdiocese, they stood behind Archbishop Tobin, who then raised his hands and prayed a prayer of consecration over the deacons.

The laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration are the essential acts in the rite of ordination. After both are complete, the deacons become priests.

“When they finished the laying on of hands, right before the prayer of consecration, I could see them,” said Father Syberg of the priests standing behind Archbishop Tobin. “I saw the smiles and the peace on their faces. That was just a tremendous peace [for me] as well. It’s going to be OK. This is our family now.”

After the prayer of consecration, the new priests had their priestly vestments placed on them and their hands anointed with chrism oil. They also ritually received a paten and chalice, symbols of the life and ministry they have just begun.

Then came a poignant moment for the new priests and many who filled the cathedral—Archbishop Tobin and all the priests sharing a sign of peace with the new priests, often taking the form of a robust bear hug.

This was an unforgettable moment for Father Douglas Marcotte, ordained a priest last year, and his brother, newly ordained Father David Marcotte.

“It was very special for him to be there and to exchange the sign of peace with him in that way,” said Father David Marcotte. “It was a moment that I had been looking forward to for a long time.”

“It was humbling that he’s joined us as a fellow priest,” said Father Douglas Marcotte. “It’s a whole new bond that we have now. We talk about being brother priests. And now to have my brother be a brother priest just adds a dimension to our relationship that wasn’t there previously.”

Just a few feet away, Irene Marcotte watched her two sons exchange the sign of peace.

“It was so heartwarming to see the two of them at this stage in their life sharing a common bond together as priests,” said Marcotte, a member of St. Michael Parish in Greenfield.

Keith Syberg, father of Father Syberg and a member of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, has attended several ordinations over the years, but said that seeing his own son ordained “magnified” the rituals that he had previously witnessed. That was especially true for the sign of peace.

“Being as close as we were, you could even hear or see what they were saying. They would say, ‘Welcome, brother,’ or ‘Welcome to the priesthood,’ ” Keith Syberg said. “There really was a finality in a good way to it when they spoke that way. They were welcoming him into the brotherhood.”

That newly formed brotherhood was expressed moments later when the new priests left the front row of chairs of the cathedral where they had been sitting with family members and sat beside priests gathered behind the altar.

That simple action spoke volumes for Mary Bedel, mother of Father Bedel and a member of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Decatur County.

“When he went back to sit with the rest of the priests, it was like, ‘He’s one of them, now,’ ” said Mary Bedel with emotion and pride.

Pride also filled the heart of Father Robert Robeson, rector of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, who oversaw the first four years of the priestly formation of the new priests.

“It was just amazing,” said Father Robeson. “The whole time, I was thinking back to when they first came to college and the way that they developed as leaders over time.

“But what hit me the most was after the sign of peace and they came back and sat with the rest of the presbyterate. It was like, ‘Wow. They’re going to the right place.’ ”

Although the new priests became part of a new family made up of their brother priests, Archbishop Tobin exhorted them in his homily to remain close always to the Catholics of central and southern Indiana whom they have been ordained to serve.

“My brothers, you will be able to speak to the hearts of your people if you know their joys and their sorrows, their anxiety and their hope,” said Archbishop Tobin. “You must never let the burden of administration or the pursuit of your own interests deafen you to the cry of our brothers and sisters who, like you, search for God and hunger for God’s word.”

He concluded his homily by inviting the nearly 1,000 Catholics attending the ordination to pray for the men he was about to ordain to the priesthood.

“Let us ask our Lord to fill our brothers today, to fill Dave, Tim, Ben and Danny, with the joy of his message so that they may serve his truth and his love with joyful zeal all the days of their life,” Archbishop Tobin said. “To God, who is the source of all gifts, be glory now and forever. Amen.”

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

Local site Links: