Historic Moment as Five Priests are Ordained in the Diocese

The Cathedral Church of St. Catharine of Siena overflowed with the faithful on Saturday, June 1st, for the Ordination Mass of five new priests. Father Nikolai Brelinsky (27), Father Keaton Eidle (26), Father Van-Vien Nguyen (31), Father Miguel Ramirez (30), and Father Aaron Scheidel (26) reverently processed out of the Cathedral to the hymn "O God Beyond All Praising" and to thunderous applause from the joyful crowd.

"I was in shock that it really happened," said Father Ramirez, "After so many challenges in my vocation journey, to see that I was walking out as a priest, and hearing the applause, it helped me to know that I was never alone. All these years people were praying for me."

"Hearing the thunderous applause as we walked out was overwhelming," said Father Nguyen. "I was moved to tears by the support and love shown for our vocations. In the future, we might face many challenges, but this moment will serve as a source of encouragement for us to move forward and serve the Church of Christ with renewed strength and dedication."

"It was very moving and very humbling to have such a tangible response to what I had received," said Father Scheidel. "I honestly can't put it entirely into words."

It was the first time in more than twenty years that the diocese ordained five priests. The Bishop, priests, deacons, and the faithful packed the Cathedral to partake in the momentous occasion.

"I've never seen the Cathedral that full," said Father Eidle. "It was quite a testament to the love of the faithful of our Diocese for the priesthood. I was blown away."

"On very few occasions have I seen the Cathedral packed," said Father Brelinsky. "The very first moments of Mass when everyone sang the Kyrie, and the building was shaking. It was so wonderful. A unique experience that doesn't happen too often."

"I was expecting a packed Cathedral since it was 5 men being ordained," said Father Scheidel, "but it still didn't prepare me for hearing such a powerful chorus of voices praying and responding during the Mass. It was very awe inspiring and reinforced the fact that, while I am receiving the Ordination to the priesthood, the whole Church of Allentown is also receiving a new priest and it is a celebration for the whole Church.”

After years of formation, the men were ready to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

"I felt at peace knowing that it was God's time, that He brought me to this point," said Father Ramirez.

"I felt ready to go after all those years of formation and all those years wanting to be a priest as a kid," said Father Eidle. "But at the same time, unknowns and my imperfections started to pop into my head, as well. So, while excited and ready to go, I've rarely felt smaller. It was a moment to just hand myself over to God and place my trust in Him that He will work through me and my imperfections in my ministry."

"The journey had its challenges and moments of doubt," said Father Nguyen. "But standing there, receiving the Sacrament, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and purpose. It was a moment where I truly felt God's presence and affirmation of my calling. Spending 13 years in non-stop formation in the seminary program, I feel very blessed to have had this long journey. Five years in formation in Vietnam, then spending eight years at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA with the wonderful Benedictine monks. I am so blessed and have learned the humility of being a servant of God and His people for the priestly ministry."

"Leading up to it, it was definitely surreal," said Father Brelinsky. "I entered the seminary in 2015 so it's been 9 years in the process in moving towards this vocation. The whole week leading up to Ordination, there's a little bit of down time. I was just hanging out at the parish, and I was starting to get very anxious. And on the day of Ordination all of that anxiety just went away. I really did feel so at peace and so joyful and joy filled. Arriving at the Cathedral in the morning and knowing, 'this is it', I just felt at peace, and felt I was exactly where the Lord put me and wanted me to be."

"It was a very surreal experience, and it is still hard to believe that it is real," said Father Scheidel. "After 8 years of Seminary it was hard to believe that I had finally reached the goal of Priestly Ordination. I had a sense of peace throughout, and all of those years of seminary did their job in preparing me to make the commitment wholeheartedly. It was also very exciting to be beginning a new stage of life and to minister as a priest."

At the end of the Ordination Mass, Bishop Schlert congratulated the new priests and welcomed them into the priesthood. He also thanked their parents. "We thank you so much for the gift or your sons to the Church," said the Bishop. "We thank you because vocations come from families. Families are different, but the call to the priesthood can come in many different ways. We thank you for fostering that environment in your homes that promoted a vocation, that encouraged a vocation."

The new priests have received their assignments which are effective Tuesday, June 18, 2024, unless otherwise noted: Father Brelinsky, Newly Ordained to Parochial Vicar, Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, Orefield; Father Keaton C. Eidle, Newly Ordained to Parochial Vicar, Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Parish, Easton; Father Van-Vien Nguyen, Newly Ordained to Parochial Vicar, Saint Catharine of Siena Parish, Reading, effective Tuesday, July 2, 2024; Father Miguel M. Ramirez, Newly Ordained to Parochial Vicar, Holy Infancy Parish and Incarnation of Our Lord Parish, Bethlehem; and Reverend Aaron R. Scheidel, Newly Ordained to Parochial Vicar, Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena, Allentown.

The priests ask the faithful to pray for them as they embark on their priestly journey.

Photos by Norm Steinruck


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