Four men ordained to the priesthood

Monday, July 08, 2019 - Updated: 3:30 pm

By JOHN FRANKO Staff Writer

A potential politician. A secondary teacher. A gifted athlete. A dental hygienist. All with diverse backgrounds but with one thing in common. They all said “yes” to God.

Bishop David Zubik described the four men — Brendan Dawson, Timothy Deely, David Egan, Jr. and Mingwei Li — who became his priestly brothers when they were raised to the order of the presbyterate during the ancient rite of ordination June 29 at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.

As part of the rite, the four declared their intention to undertake the office of the priesthood and promised respect and obedience to Bishop Zubik and his successors. They then prostrated themselves before the altar, as the congregation was led in asking the prayer of the saints and offering the intercessions of the community.

In the most solemn gesture of the rite, the bishop silently placed his hands on the head of each new priest. The other priests who were present followed, signifying their solidarity in priestly ministry.

The new priests were then invested with their stole and chasuble (priestly garments). Bishop Zubik anointed their palms with holy chrism and he handed over to each of them patens holding the bread and wine. The bishop then extended his fraternal greeting, as did the other members of the presbyterate.

Bishop Zubik affectionately referred to the new priests as the “D.C. Four” because they all studied at Theological College and The Catholic University of America in Washington. The class was a pioneer, he noted, in that it was the first to attend the seminarian program of the Institute for Priestly Formation at the University of Creighton in Omaha, Neb., and the first to take part in a Pastoral Formation Year at a parish.

He also pointed out that as a immigrant from China, Father Li became the first priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh to be ordained from there.

“You become men who call us to be a people of hope,” Bishop Zubik told the new priests, in noting that hope is so desperately needed in the Church and in the world. 

The bishop pointed to Father Patrick Rager, a diocesan priest who died in 2010 at the age of 50. Shortly after his ordination in 1985, Father Rager was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. His condition eventually progressed to the point where he could only communicate through his eyes, but Bishop Zubik noted that when he looked into them he saw hope.

“I saw hope that could not be put out,” he said.

He told his new brothers that they must be men of hope and they must truly know Jesus. The more they come to know the Lord, he said, the more they will be like Peter and Paul, and Father Rager in bringing that hope.

Bishop Zubik also told them that that they have the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ. They must believe and practice what they teach, and bring joy to their ministry. In doing so, he said, they will be a nourishment for the people. “Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd, who came not be be served, but to serve,” he said.

Following communion, the bishop presented the new priests with their priestly faculties of the diocese and their first assignments as parochial vicars.

Father Dawson will serve at Holy Spirit in New Castle; Father Deely will serve the parishes in the Bellevue/Emsworth/Franklin Park grouping; Father Egan will serve the parishes in the Cranberry Township/Ellwood City/Zelienople grouping; and Father Li will serve the parishes in the Coraopolis/Moon Township grouping. All are effective July 15.

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