June 7, 2019

‘One Priesthood’: New priests must be conduits of light, proclaim God’s word and dispense his grace

Transitional Deacons Timothy DeCrane, left, and Vincent Gillmore kneel on June 1 in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral while Father Vincent Lampert ritually lays hands on Deacon DeCrane and Father James Brockmeier ritually lays hands on Deacon Gillmore. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Transitional Deacons Timothy DeCrane, left, and Vincent Gillmore kneel on June 1 in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral while Father Vincent Lampert ritually lays hands on Deacon DeCrane and Father James Brockmeier ritually lays hands on Deacon Gillmore. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Several hundred people gathered on June 1 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis to witness the ordination to the priesthood of transitional Deacons Timothy DeCrane and Vincent Gillmore. (Related: Photo gallery from the Mass | More photos)

But for the mothers of these two newest priests of the Church in central and southern Indiana, the four walls of the cathedral were filled to overflowing with holy men and women from throughout space and time, all there to add their prayers for their sons.

“The whole thing felt like a big blessing of grace,” said Cathy DeCrane, Father DeCrane’s mother. “All the saints in heaven and the people on Earth and in purgatory were praying for the ordination.”

“It was absolutely heavenly,” said Sandy Gillmore, Father Gillmore’s mother. “I looked at Vinny in the beginning and I said, ‘Vinny, the whole world is here.’ And then I looked again and I said, ‘No, the whole universe is here.’ Supernaturally, the whole universe was there.”

“That was ringing through my heart and my head through the whole Mass,” said Father Gillmore afterward. “It brought everyone throughout the universe—past, present and future—into one family. I’ll continue meditating on that as I go forward.”

Father DeCrane experienced the timelessness of the ordination when Archbishop Charles C. Thompson and priests who serve across central and southern Indiana individually laid their hands upon his head, a ritual rooted in the New Testament. At the same time, he appreciated how this was also a gesture of his new bond with his brother priests.

“It showed me that we’re one priesthood,” Father DeCrane said. “It’s a brotherhood. The grace of the Holy Spirit is really there.”

The fathers of the newly ordained priests were filled with gratitude at witnessing their sons embrace their priestly vocations.

“I’m thankful and excited,” said James DeCrane. “It’s still hard for me to believe. I’m glad that God called [Timothy] to the priesthood and that he responded to that. I’ve seen a real growth in him. I’ve got to pinch myself to make sure that it’s still true.”

David Gillmore was awestruck at how “God is over the top,” and “put all this together far better than we could have ever imagined.”

In his homily during the Mass, Archbishop Thompson brought the men he was about to ordain to the present moment. He reminded them of the challenges they’ll face in priestly ministry today in a secular culture marked by “radical individualism,” moral relativism and “an ever-increasing rise of hostility in the form of suicide, gun violence, lawsuits, hate crimes, addiction, abuse and all sorts of injustice.

“To be witnesses of [the] Good News, priests must be willing to go against the current, indeed, the tide of the various agendas and ideologies that are driving today’s society and radically reshaping our culture,” said Archbishop Thomspon.

Pausing, he added, “I’m not saying all of this to scare you, but just to make it real. You are ready for the challenges.”

Archbishop Thompson noted that the society in which they will minister is “wounded by polarization and fragmentation,” and is “in need of the healing balm of justice tempered with the sweetness of mercy that can only be applied by means of truth in charity.”

“Humanity is in need of that which can truly satisfy hungering hearts and thirsting souls—namely, the person of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Thompson said. “The light of Christ alone dispels the darkness of sin and death in order that we are able to realize the beauty, goodness and truth of God who abides with us in love and saving grace.

“Priests must be conduits of that light as proclaimers of God’s word and dispensers of sacramental grace,” he added. “That is an awesome power that works through you, not by your merits, but by the grace of God.”

Father DeCrane said he is looking forward to continuing “to share in the stories” of the people he’ll serve and “be the light of Christ along their way.”

He will begin his priestly ministry as associate pastor of St. Monica Parish and as the chaplain coordinator of Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School, both in Indianapolis.

Father Gillmore will serve as associate pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood.

“I’m looking forward to being all in, invested in one place,” he said. “I’ll certainly have commitments to balance between the archdiocese and the parish, but being fully engaged and invested in one place, one group of people, is something I’m really looking forward to.”

During his seven years of priestly formation, Father Gillmore was co-sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services. After three years of service in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, he will serve for several years as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force.

He is the first man ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis who was co-sponsored as a seminarian by the military archdiocese, a program that was established in the early 1990s.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who leads the military archdiocese, concelebrated the ordination Mass. He has known Father Gillmore since the newly ordained priest was a student at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Seeing the realization of his response to this call from Almighty God, and knowing that in three years he’ll be serving the men and women of the United States Air Force, is certainly a consolation,” Archbishop Broglio said. “He’ll bring all of his talents to that ministry. And he’ll bring the richness of his experience that he’s had here in the archdiocese. For us, it’s a double win.”

(For more information about a vocation to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, visit www.HearGodsCall.com.)

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