Father Alexander Brown Ordained New Priest for the Diocese

In his forging workshop, Alexander Brown would heat and bend metal into various forms. But from now on, the amateur blacksmith will be shaping souls as a priest of the Diocese of Allentown.

On June 4, Bishop Alfred Schlert conferred Priestly Ordination on Father Brown at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown. A member of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Bath, Father Brown had for the past year served as a Transitional Deacon at the Cathedral Parish.

The youngest of four children, Brown was homeschooled by his parents Randolph Brown and Dierdre Sweeney-Brown before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. To the delight of his fellow seminarians, Brown would occasionally practice his blacksmithing at a makeshift forge on the seminary grounds.

The homeliness of the forge contrasted starkly with the splendor of the Cathedral Church on the day of Ordination, when family, friends, and more than 400 of the faithful gathered to witness then-Rev. Mr. Brown’s Ordination to the Priesthood.

Also present were deacons, seminarians, and over fifty priests of the diocese, along with a procession of dignitaries from various fraternal organizations.

The Rite of Ordination began with the “Election of the Candidate,” in which the candidate was presented to Bishop Schlert as being worthy of Ordination. Moments later, rousing applause filled the Cathedral, indicating the people’s acceptance of the Bishop’s decision to proceed with the Ordination.

Standing before Bishop Schlert in his deacon’s stole, the candidate professed his willingness to fulfill the obligations of the priestly office. Then, echoing a gesture made during his Ordination as a deacon, he knelt and placed his hands between the hands of the Bishop, reaffirming his promise to obey Bishop Schlert and his successors.

As the Litany of Supplication was chanted, in a profound sign of his abandonment of self and his total surrender to God’s Will, Brown prostrated himself before the altar.

The final notes of the litany having faded away, an expectant silence reigned as the candidate rose and approached Bishop Schlert, who placed his hands on the candidate’s head while the Prayer of Ordination was recited. The gesture was repeated by the assembled priests, who each came forward to impose hands on the newly ordained in what Bishop Schlert has called “a great manifestation of a fraternity that goes beyond friendship.”

Monsignor David James, Vicar General of the Diocese of Allentown, vested Father Brown with a stole and chasuble. Father Brown will wear the stole when celebrating the Sacraments, while the chasuble will serve as his vestment when offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

After the investiture, Bishop Schlert anointed the hands of the newly ordained with sacred chrism, signifying Father Brown’s calling to sanctify the people and offer sacrifice to God. The cloth that Father Brown used to wipe the sacred chrism from his hands after the anointing would be presented by Father Brown to his mother after Father’s first Mass.

The Rite of Ordination concluded with the Sign of Peace, during which each of Father Brown’s brother priests offered a fraternal kiss of peace to the newly ordained.

In remarks addressed to Father Brown, Bishop Schlert quoted a brother priest, saying, “The priesthood is absolute happiness. However, the depth of that happiness will depend upon the depth of the desire to sacrifice.”

“That’s a command and a challenge: to be configured to Christ the High Priest, who mounted the cross in sacrifice,” said the Bishop.

The Bishop wished Father Brown “many years of life as a priest of Jesus Christ,” and expressed his desire that each day should bring both “an awareness that you are God’s chosen son” and an opportunity to “give thanks for the life to which he has called you.”

The new priest’s first assignment is Parochial Vicar of St. Anne Parish, Bethlehem.

The Ordination Mass may be viewed on both the Diocese of Allentown’s Facebook and YouTube pages. A profile of the candidate was in the May 25 issue of the AD Times and posted on AD Today.

By Celeste Behe. Photo by Ed Koskey.


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