When asked if I have any advice on my first anniversary, I'm not sure that I do. It's been a year of many wonderful blessings, as well as a few challenges. I find myself recalling and praying again a prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas that I put on the back of my ordination holy card: Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, perseverance in faithfully waiting for you, and a confidence of finally embracing you.
Sometimes folks ask me if priesthood is what I expected it to be, and I have to say yes, because my expectations were pretty straightforward. I expected to work hard and to be of service in all kinds of ways that I would not have imagined nor have felt prepared for in advance. And that has proved to be true! What I had not expected, and what I am very grateful for, is that the meaning and fulfillment that I have found in that service is greater than I could have imagined it would be, as is the outpouring of kindness and love from the faithful. As such, I'm very grateful for what God has given me this first year and what he has allowed me to give to others, despite my own faults and shortcomings. Please pray that I may be of faithful service for many more years to come!
Here are pictures of some of the highlights from my first year as a priest. It's not an exhaustive list, by any means.
The 2012 Class of the Pontifical North American College. (May 2012)
The Laying on of Hands during my ordination. (July 21, 2012)
Being vested in the stole and chasuble by Msgr. J. Gaston Hebert, my former pastor and the priest who baptized me.
After the ordination, with the seminarians from my home parish of Christ the King Church
in Little Rock.
Before my first Mass, with concelebrating priests, at Christ the King. (July 22, 2012)
During my language study in Mexico, I had the opportunity to celebrate Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. (September 2012)
Visiting the pyramids of Teotihuacan. (October 2012)
Sampling a local Mexican delicacy chapulines, grasshoppers grilled with spices and chili powder. (October 2012)
With my teacher Elvia on the last day of class. (October 2012)
The family at Thanksgiving (minus my brother, who's taking the picture).
Celebrating the wedding Mass of some dear friends in Baltimore. (December 2012)
Celebrating my first Easter Vigil, in Spanish nonetheless. (March 2013)
Celebrating with my brother his graduation from philosophy studies. (May 2012)
With my parents on my first anniversary.