Two priests ordained for the diocese
By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY - Calling it "a great day for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph," Bishop Raymond J. Boland ordained Father Shawn Ratigan, 38, and Father Joseph Totton, 28, as the diocese's newest priests June 4 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Kevin Kelly/Key photo
Bishop Raymond J. Boland offers prayers before the newly ordained priests Father Shawn Ratigan and Father Joseph Totton.
The ordinations to the priesthood mark the second event in a rare three-fold celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Orders that will be completed in the span of six weeks.
On May 3, the diocese's new coadjutor bishop, Bishop Robert W. Finn, was ordained as bishop at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
On June 12, four men - Rich Akins, Kenneth Albers, Steven Carter and Michael Peterson - will be ordained as permanent deacons.
The ordinations were also the first celebrated in the cathedral since it was renovated and rededicated in 2003.
Bishop Boland used the occasion of the ordinations to the priesthood before a congregation that filled the cathedral to highlight the unique and irreplaceable role of the priest.
"Nobody should depart here thinking he has only received an analysis of the priest's job description," Bishop Boland said as he urged the congregation to pay close attention to each part of the rich liturgy of the ordination rite.
The bishop noted that the rite was revised at the Second Vatican Council, with the rite of ordination "carefully crafted to ensure that those to be ordained know exactly what is happening when (transitional) deacons become priests through the creative power of God's grace."
At each step, he said, the newly ordained priest "becomes a different person and is changed forever."
"The core of the ceremony is to show you not just what the priest does, but what the priest becomes," Bishop Boland said.
"The value of all the things he will do during his years of priesthood owe their substance and their efficacy to the fact that his life is eternally grafted to the priesthood of Jesus Christ," the bishop said.
Recalling Christ's words at the Last Supper, Bishop Boland said that Jesus invited his disciples "to reciprocate his love and to love others, to become his friends - a friendship so rich and so intense and so faithful that one is willing to sacrifice one's life for the other."
"This is what Christ did, and he makes it possible for each priest to do the same in every role to which he is called - as shepherd, intercessor, motivator, teacher, sanctifier, reconciler, in season and out of season, till the final summons comes," he said.