June 30, 2006

‘Stay in my hands, and give me yours’:
Deacon Nobbe ordained to the priesthood

By Sean Gallagher

In a liturgy imbued with rich symbols, the love of his family and friends, and the fellowship of Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein and his new brother priests, Deacon Scott Nobbe was ordained to the priesthood on June 24 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

(See a large gallery from the event featuring more than 30 photos)

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI during his homily, Archbishop Buechlein reflected on the role of hands in the rite of ordination.

“[The pope] said, ‘At the center is the ancient rite of the imposition of hands,’ ” Archbishop Buechlein said. “ ‘With that gesture, Jesus takes possession of us.

“ ‘In effect, he does so, saying “You are under the protection of my hands. … You are kept safely in the palm of my hands … Stay in my hands, and give me yours.’ ”

Later in the homily, the archbishop returned to the close relationship between Christ and a priest, saying that it is rooted in prayer.

“Pope Benedict says that [this] is the meaning of the imposition of hands: I no longer call you servants but friends,” the archbishop said. “The core of the priesthood is being friends of Jesus, and being a friend of Jesus means being a man of prayer.”

Continuing with the theme of hands, the archbishop assured Deacon Nobbe of the prayerful support of all present at the liturgy.

“Scott, today you put your hands at Christ’s disposal,” he said. “Today, we pray with you that Jesus will take you by the hand again and again, and lead you in your priestly ministry.”

Deacon Nobbe gave his hands to Christ and the Church during his ordination, but not before his parents, Paul and Joyce Nobbe, in a sense, gave him away.

At the start of the liturgy, the archbishop thanked the Nobbes, members of St. Gabriel Parish in Connersville, for supporting their son in his priestly formation.

But the close connection between Deacon Nobbe and his parents was further highlighted in the liturgy when Joyce Nobbe sang the responsorial psalm.

Standing in the cathedral’s ambo, Joyce Nobbe sang at one point, “For it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

She acknowledged afterward the deep emotions that these words brought out in her, causing her to reflect on the “marvel of a birth and where this all went with Scott.”

But while leading the congregation in song, she kept those emotions in check.

“I was trying not to think of the words even though I could feel them,” Joyce Nobbe said. “I was fine until I got down and then my knees started shaking.”

Although gratified by his mother’s special role in his ordination, Father Nobbe acknowledged afterward that his thoughts were also on his paternal grandmother, Gladys Nobbe, who, at 97, was unable to attend.

“A lot of the inspiration that I get comes from her knowing that she has spiritually supported me,” he said.

After the archbishop and the approximately 75 priests present for the liturgy laid their hands upon Deacon Nobbe’s head and his hands were anointed with holy chrism, he used his hands in a priestly gesture for the first time during the eucharistic prayer. He held out his right hand in the direction of the altar where the archbishop was consecrating the bread and wine.

“That was just momentous for me,” Father Nobbe said after his ordination. “I was extremely calm. I think it was a sense of overwhelming peace and gratitude that was present that made me calm instead of being nervous at that point, being the first time to concelebrate at Mass.”

The ordination Mass concluded with Father Nobbe joining Archbishop Buechlein in the final blessing.

Many who sought the newly ordained priest’s blessing after the liturgy were members of the archdiocese’s Hispanic community. On July 5, Father Nobbe will begin service as the archbishop’s part-time executive assistant and his liaison for Hispanic ministry in the archdiocese. He will also minister to Hispanics in the Indianapolis West Deanery.

Franciscan Father Tom Fox, who has ministered to archdiocesan Hispanics for 12 years, said he is looking forward to having Father Nobbe join him in this ministry.

“I am just thrilled to death about this,” he said. “I think Scott knows the community well. I think he’ll just be first class.”

Gerardo Dimas, a Hispanic member of St. Monica Parish in the Indianapolis West Deanery, was also present for the liturgy.

“It’s the first time that I’ve come to an ordination,” he said. “I’ve wanted to come, but I never had the chance. But today is the day. And he is important for us.”

Father Nobbe celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. on June 25 at St. Gabriel Church in Connersville.

Benedictine Father Guerric DeBona, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey and a member of the faculty of Saint Meinrad School of Theology, was the homilist at the Mass.

Among the 12 priests concelebrating were Father Joseph Riedman, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis; Father Harold Rightor, pastor of St. Martin Parish in Yorkville and St. Paul Parish in New Alsace; and retired Father Donald Schmidlin.

Father Nobbe will celebrate all the weekend Masses on July 1-2 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Fortville, the parish where he grew up. †

Local site Links: