Bishop Schlert Consecrates Sacred Vessels at Holy Hour for Ordinandi

Five sets of sacred vessels were consecrated by Bishop Alfred Schlert on Friday, May 31st, during the Holy Hour and Vespers for the Ordinandi at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown.

On this eve before ordination, then still deacons, Deacon Keaton Eidle, Deacon Aaron Scheidel, Deacon Nikolai Brelinsky, Deacon Van-Vien Nguyen, and Deacon Miguel Ramirez, watched and prayed as their patens and chalices were one by one chrismated and consecrated.

The consecration of the chalices and patens had a heightened significance for Deacon Scheidel.

"The chalice and paten are actually from my great-great uncle who was a priest in Philadelphia years ago. I never met him, but they were handed down through the family since he passed away. I am the first priest since then. So, when I see the chalice and paten and think about how this is what my great-great uncle would have used to celebrate Mass, I find it very special because it is now being consecrated for my use.”

These vessels, which Bishop Schlert would later call "the tools" of a priest's "trade," would soon be placed within their chrismated hands after Ordination the next day.

The evening was an example to the deacons of what they would cling to all the years of their priesthood: the Sacraments and prayer.

To illuminate the purpose of the priesthood, Father Eugene Ritz, Vicar for Clergy, identified the deacons as his soon-to-be priestly "brothers" and profoundly remarks, "There is only one real sadness, only one real failure, and only one great tragedy in life – not to become a saint."

"The effects of what is to happen at Sacred Ordination tomorrow morning [will] resonate through the depths of your souls as you are conformed to Christ, the priest," and "that ripple of this grace will go forth from our Presbyterate through the Diocese of Allentown and beyond to uplift the life of the Church [so that] courage is renewed, and hearts are changed, and souls are left different – that [they] are sanctified through the ministry of the Church."

Seminarian James Ngo, parishioner of Sacred Heart and Holy Rosary in West Reading, just finished his second year of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, and came to support the deacons.

"What is very special to me is that God willing, in one or two years, I will be in the same spot as them. I will miss all of them, but it will not be long before I can join them."

The journey of these men to the priesthood has left Jude Eidle, brother of then-Deacon Keaton Eidle, excited about the Ordination. He noted that his brother's steps to the priesthood has been a "good influence" on him and has helped him consider the priesthood himself.

Carla Jane Saveri, parishioner of Holy Family, Nazareth, came directly from work to pray that evening. She attempts to make the prayer service the night before the Ordination each year.

Though she had no personal connection to any of the seminarians, she remarked, "Five men from our Diocese are going to be priests tomorrow; I want to pray for them."

The consecration of the sacred vessels, holy hour, and vespers left Deacon Keaton Eidle, Deacon Aaron Scheidel, Deacon Nikolai Brelinsky, Deacon Van-Vien Nguyen, and Deacon Miguel Ramirez elevated in prayer through the evening and into the morning before their Ordination.

Photos by Ed Koskey


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