It is a privilege for a priest to have been administered both the first and second degree of Holy Orders within a Jubilee Year. Father Matthew J. Kuna is grateful to have received that privilege, having been ordained a deacon soon after the opening of the Year of Real Presence and ordained a priest before the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which will mark the close of the Jubilee Year.
On June 4, Bishop Alfred Schlert conferred priestly Ordination on Father Kuna at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown, where for the past year Kuna has served as a Transitional Deacon.
Father Kuna is a son of Anne and the late Mark Kuna, and he has two younger brothers, Ryan and Scott. He attended St. Thomas More School, Allentown and Bethlehem Catholic High School.
Before commencing his studies for the Priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, he graduated from Kutztown University with a bachelor of science degree in education. He discerned his vocation with the help of his friend Father John Doris of the Diocese of Scranton.
Present at the Ordination were more than 50 priests, as well as many of Father Kuna’s family and friends.
Deacon Alexander Brown, whose own Ordination to the diaconate had taken place at the Cathedral only two weeks earlier, proclaimed the Gospel.
Deacon Kuna was called before Bishop Schlert to be examined and indicated his willingness to be ordained a priest. He then placed his folded hands inside the folded hands of Bishop Schlert and promised obedience to the Bishop and his successors.
While the Litany of Supplication was chanted by the cantor and the faithful, Deacon Kuna, in a moving gesture of his complete reliance on God’s grace and his readiness to abandon his own will, prostrated himself before the altar.
Then Bishop Schlert placed his hands on the head of Deacon Kuna while praying silently. This laying on of hands was used by the apostles in the election of the first deacons of the Church and is an outward sign of Ordination to the Order of Priests.
In a gesture that Bishop Schlert called “a great manifestation of a fraternity that goes beyond friendship,” the assembled priests each came forward to impose hands on the newly ordained.
Father Doris vested Father Kuna with a stole, which he will wear when celebrating the sacraments, and a chasuble, which he will wear when offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Rite of Ordination concluded with the Fraternal Kiss of Peace, during which the newly ordained Father Kuna stood before the altar and was embraced in turn by each of his brother priests.
Shortly thereafter, Father Kuna spoke the words of consecration in union with Bishop Schlert and concelebrants, in his first celebration of the Eucharist as a priest.
“Today you take on the title of Father,” Bishop Schlert said to Father Kuna at the close of the Mass. “It is a title that the people of God, who are the Church, bestow upon you. Not because you are Matthew Kuna, but because of the office of priest that you hold, because of the bridge between God and man that you have now become.”
“Anchor yourself at the altar when you stand in the person of Christ to offer the unbloody Sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Anchor yourself in adoration, anchor yourself in prayer,” he said.
The Bishop exhorted Father Kuna to build his inner life by embracing “crux, hostia, and virgo” – “cross, Eucharist, and the Blessed Virgin.”
“The cross allows us to be born into divine life. Without the Eucharist we cannot live. And the Virgin watches over our spiritual development as a mother and educates us to grow in faith.”
Father Kuna has been appointed by Bishop Schlert to serve as Parochial Vicar at St. Catharine of Siena Parish, Reading and Chaplain of Berks Catholic High School, Reading, effective Tuesday, June 21.
The Ordination Mass may be viewed on both the Diocese of Allentown Facebook page and on YouTube.
Anne Kuna is overcome with joy at receiving a blessing from her son after his Ordination. (Photo by Jeffrey Bruno)