Photo: Felix Carroll

'God-Incidences' Mark a Joyous Ordination

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By Dan Valenti (Jul 3, 2011)
On July 2, 2004, Angelo Casimiro first set foot on Eden Hill. Seven years later to the day, in the same sacred place, Deacon Angelo Casimiro, MIC, became an ordained priest.

The ordination, celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., the Most Rev. Martin D. Holley, also came seven years to the day of Holley's ordination as auxiliary bishop at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, in Washington.

July 2: A Lot of 'God-Incidences'
Father Angelo, speaking after Mass, said when he selected July 2 for his ordination day, he didn't realize at first that it marked his visit to Eden Hill, home of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in the United States and Argentina and site of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. Father Angelo selected the day because it marks the feast day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It's also a First Saturday, and it occurs the day after the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which this year occurred on a First Friday.

"When I started to realize all the 'God-incidences' surrounding the date, I knew that I hadn't selected the day at all," Fr. Angelo said. "It was Our Lady who chose the date for me."

Father Angelo's ordination was followed by his Mass of Thanksgiving the following day, Sunday, July 3.

+ + + View a photo gallery of the weekend + + +

One of the most moving moments of the joyous ordination came after the post-Communion Hymn ("How Beautiful"), when Fr. Angelo took three white roses and three red roses to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, enshrined on the right side altar. He did this to formally consecrate his priesthood to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As cantor Mary Flynn sang Schubert's "Ave Maria" accompanied by Br. Ken Galisa, MIC, on the organ, Fr. Angelo placed the flowers before Mary and knelt in silent prayer. Beside the statue of Our Lady was a framed photograph of Fr. Angelo's mother, Susie, who died on Dec. 1, 2009.

"I prayed to Our Lady, offering thanks for the way she got me through 10 long years of conversion, discernment, and study that led up to this moment," Fr. Angelo said. "I also prayed to my mom. I thanked her, as well. I felt very much in Our Lady's presence, and I knew my mom was there with me as well."

'Called to Leave Everything'
In his homily, in which he addressed Fr. Angelo as "my son," Bishop Holley referenced the first reading from the Book of Jeremiah (1:4-9), in which God told the prophet to preach to the nation. Jeremiah protests from fear, though, answering, "Ah, Lord God. I know not how to speak. I am too young." God tells Jeremiah not to worry, because God will give him the words to say. Bishop Holley told Fr. Angelo not to worry about finding the right way to be a priest, because the priest doesn't speak his own words. Rather, "he speaks the Word of God, not human words."

The bishop said that while God owes us nothing, those called to the priesthood, like the disciples, are "called to leave everything." Despite human weakness, priests trust in God as they minister: "Jeremiah had the strength and wisdom to see the weakness in himself." That enabled him to rely completely on God, Bishop Holley said, relating this to the second reading from Hebrews (5:1-10), which tells of the priest as the people's "representative before God ... [who] makes sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God."

The priest cannot do it alone. Bishop Holley — addressing the gathering of Fr. Angelo's fellow Marians, friends, family, and loved ones that filled the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy — said, "Your prayers, my dear friends, are meant to sustain Deacon Angelo." He then defined a good priest as one who is "completely consecrated to the task God has chosen for them."

Commenting on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Bishop Holley said it "reminds us of God's goodness" and God's love for all of us. "... God is love, and through the priest's hands, God manifests His love." He advised Deacon Angelo, who in minutes would be a priest himself, "to be the extension of The Divine Mercy" to others, for "The Divine Mercy is first and foremost and expression of love. [It is] conveyed by one vessel, and that is Christ. Be, then, an Apostle of mercy, through the intercession of Blessed Stanislaus [Papczynski, Father Founder of the Marian Fathers]."

Sunlight Works a Minor Miracle, Pale and Red
During the litany of saints, Deacon Angelo lay prostrate in front of the altar. The sun, which had been going in and out, then did an interesting thing that could only be seen from the choir loft, and only if one were looking at a precise spot. Its rays beamed through the bottom portion of the stained glass window on the left side of the Shrine, near the back.

This window depicts Mary holding the body of her dead Son, who has just been taken down from the cross. The bottom of the window had been tilted to let in cooling air. The rays split the colored glass, refracting beams of color on the wooden windowsill: red and pale pools of light. These, of course, are the colors of the rays that emanate from the Heart of Jesus in the image of The Divine Mercy, as He appeared to St. Faustina.

After the invocation of the Holy Spirit in the prayer of ordination and the laying on of hands by Bishop Holley, one by one, each of the Marian Fathers attending the Mass laid their hands on Fr. Angelo. They included Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC; Fr. Mark Baron, MIC; Fr. James Cervantes, MIC; Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC; Fr. Ken Dos Santos, MIC; Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC; Fr. Tim Roth, MIC; Fr. Bob Vennetti, MIC; Fr. Jim McCormack, MIC; Fr. David Lord, MIC; Fr. Gerald Ornowski, MIC; Fr. Andy Davy, MIC; Fr. Larry Dunn, MIC; and Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC.

After becoming a priest, Deacon Angelo took off his outer vestments to put on his priestly ones. He donned a chasuble of dazzling white, embroidered with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The image, handmade and brought back from the Philippines by Fr. James Cervantes, MIC, came from a drawing Fr. Angelo had done to illustrate the program made for his perpetual vows.

Following the investiture, the newly ordained knelt before the Bishop and received from him the elements for the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, bread on the patten sitting on the chalice containing the wine, being told to become that which he celebrates. Thus, the configuring of the priest in the suffering Christ. The ritual of ordination is rich in symbol and teaching of the truth of our faith and the sublime Sacraments given us by Christ.

'Pray for Me. I'm Still a Sinner. I'm Still Weak'
At a luncheon reception held in the Marian Fathers' monastery attached to the National Shrine, Fr. James introduced his dear friend: "I thank God for giving me Angelo to journey with throughout these years [of formation]." The two warmly embraced.

In his remarks to the guests, Fr. Angelo thanked all those who had a hand not just in this beautiful day but also all along the arduous way of his 10-year journey from lapsed Catholic to Catholic priest in the Congregation of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

Before imparting a blessing and saying grace, Fr. Angelo had one request: "Pray for me. I'm still a sinner. I'm still weak."

It served as a reminder, once again, that God chooses the weak among us to do the toughest jobs.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Eleanor - Jul 25, 2011

I am part of a devotional hour to our Lady of LaSalette and Jesus in His Divine Mercy. We always remember our priests and now we will add you to one of God's newest. Remember He is always with you. I have lapsed Catholic children and unfortunately I know I am not alone. Please remember all lapsed Catholics in your prayers.

Fe S.D. G.Goco - Jul 21, 2011

Congratulations! Thanks GOD,truly we are always praying for all priests, Marian's, SVD's and those in formation.We are also devotees of the Divine Mercy..May we spread the Mercy to all people.Please also pray for the Phil..More power and always ask our Mother Mary's help in all your endeavors..God Bless.

Mrs.Dianne,Marian Helper - Jul 12, 2011

God bless you always newly,ordained,The Reverend Father Angelo! The Blessed Saint Virgin Mary daily hear your prayers;and,keep you near her Immmaculate Heart! Our Jesus Christ Savior keep you safe;in,His Sacred Heart!!! With Heartfelt Congrats!! Di,Nashville,TN

Theresa Henderson - Jul 12, 2011

Fr. was such a privilege to be included in receiving this information and these wonderful pictures of your ordination. You will be a most holy priest under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. God bless you in your ministry. You will touch many hearts and bring many souls to Jesus through Mary.

Glady - Jul 11, 2011

As I saw you for the first time yesterday at your thanksgiving mass at St Peter Chanel, I feel so blessed that I was one of the many to witness it.I know that God and Mama Mary will continue to bless you as you travel this new journey. Thank you for the prayers that you personally gave me and my Mom after the mass. We will pray for you always.

Ester A. Tuazon - Jul 11, 2011

My wishes and prayers that God will continue to shower you with divine graces as your begin to perform the task that God has planned for you. As a Filipina, we are so proud of you, Father Angelo. May God's light shine upon you always, especially, the twin lights of the Sacred hearts of Mary and Jesus.

Grace - Jul 10, 2011

Congratulations for saying "YES" to the call. May you be a joyful fisherman of souls for OUR GOOD GOD. God bless

Bergmann Family - Jul 9, 2011

Dear Fr. Angelo,

May God guide you in the great work you are undertaking. May other lapsed Catholics see your journey and be inspired to come back to the Church and participate in God's Plan for us all.

husband's illness - Jul 9, 2011

Dear Father Angelo,
We are praying for your priesthood and would like to ask a favor. Please pray for your first miracle and ask Saint Faustina to make my husband well again. He is saying a novena to Saint Faustina using her Holy Oil from the Shrine. We have a great Faith in her since Jesus spoke to her and asked her to give "graces" to those who asked in prayer (I would expect)God Bless you.

PELanda - Jul 8, 2011

Dear FrAngelo,
Thank God through the Blessed Mother you made it all the way what you've struggled for.I will continue praying for you as I've always been for ALL the Marian Priests..GOD Bless Our common prayers..

Monique - Jul 8, 2011

I was really discouraged today and reading this story lifted me and gave me hope. I pray that The Most Precious Blood of Jesus envelop Father Angelo and keep him in a state of Grace, that he may Serve the Lord and HIs flock. Thank you for becoming a priest!

H. Gomes - Jul 8, 2011

Congratulations to you Father! And may you always know the presence of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at your side.

Alicia - Jul 8, 2011

Thank you for sharing the beautiful and
special day of celebration.
God Bless and yes, we'll remember you and the Marians in my prayers. Please
remember my family in prayers.

Matt Collins - Jul 8, 2011

God Bless You, Brother Father! May you live well into your Calling and Destiny!

The Collins Family, New Berlin, WI

Susan M - Jul 8, 2011

God bless you! for your service and
dedication. You are doing something I as a women will never be able to do.God has chosen you and you will be a good priest and servant of the Lord. I pray for all our priests everywhere, and you will be in my prayers as well. May you have a wonderful ministry.

Father Angelo, - Jul 7, 2011

Congratulations Father on your ordination to the priesthood! You will be in my prayers. This is so wonderful to have another ordained priest of God!

Angelo Bunagan - Jul 7, 2011

Congratulations Fr.Angelo, my hope is that you will be a good priest... a priest who is not self righteous and who considers himself a "human person".

Jopie Coscolluela - Jul 6, 2011

Dear Father Angelo,
I googled Divine Mercy and it opened to this article about you. For me, this is yet another re-assurance of God of His presence in me today. Imagine how I can proclaim again today, the second time in 3 days, "I'm proud to be Pinoy!" I met a newly ordained Fil. priest, Fr. Rad Jao, just last Sunday. How amazing is God's love! Two newly-ordained Fil. priests in a row! What an outpouring of blessings for us Pinoys! I feel our Lord's assurance, "Rest in me, for my yoke is easy, my burden light." I also want to share with everyone the amazing power of The Divine Mercy chaplet. I was just unfairly terminated by a Filipino friend, from this organization I have worked for for 5 1/2 years. The Divine Mercy prayer was my power drink every morning. Each time I pray, I feel how much I grow in that intimacy with our Lord and how He gives us His Peace each time we call on Him. The Divine Mercy chaplet calms away the anxieties of this world. I will include you in my prayers, Fr. Angelo. Do say one for me too. Thank you.

debbie slavin - Jul 5, 2011

Dear Fr. Angelo,
May you always feel with you, the loving prayers of your family, your community,and your friends. May the tender Mercies of Our Lord guide and illuminate your way, and may the Mantle of Mary Immaculate, protect and console you, always being your health and your protection.
Your sister in Christ's love.

BRIAN GALANG - Jul 4, 2011


Deacon Ken and Alice Dos Santos - Jul 4, 2011

Congratulations on your ordination to the Sacred Priesthood. God's Blessings!May Mother Mary guide you always! In Jesus through Mary

Brother Leonard - Jul 4, 2011

Let me be among the last to call upon "Father Angelo" and offer personal and communal congratulations on this significant moment of your life. We feel fortunate to have you among the Marians who are so blessed to serve Christ and the Church by promoting devotion to Divine Mercy and serving Our Lady of the Immaculte Conception. That's what I would call having the best of both worlds!!
God bless all of your future ministry in serving the needs of others.

Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC - Jul 4, 2011

Dear Fr. Angelo:
Congratulations! I was also ordained on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It fell on June 27 the year I was ordained in 1992.