3/06/2009

Forty-One Years ordained, and counting (while I still can.)


On March 6, 1968 Bishop Francisco Reus-Froylan saw fit, God and the people willing, to ordain me as a priest.

I was ordained at Iglesia El Buen Pastor, in Fajardo. At the time it had neither the tower nor the two story parish building pictured here, but did have an open side and back where on hot Sundays chickens and the occasional dog or goat was known to wander in for the shade.

In the forty-one years the church has prospered. It has a website now and along with a variety of other clergy I'm listed as on of the "Pastores que la atendieron." It was a long time ago and I hope they have forgiven my awful right-out-of-seminary sermons! It was a great place to serve.
The Ordination Eucharist was in Spanish, the choir was french /creole speaking seminarians from Haiti, lending a certain lilt to the service music, and the examination and my vows were in English (Bishop Reus said) so I would clearly understand them.

At the end of the service the bishop told me to come back into the church, where upon he knelt on one foot and asked a blessing. No one told me at good ol' Episcopal Theological School that a bishop might do that after my ordination. I was dumbfounded, but pulled myself together and did it. That was followed of course by most of the rest of the congregation coming forward as well. It was the first of a long ministry of surprises.

It's good to know Iglesia El Buen Pastor has thrived. So have I. Being allowed by God, and the people willing, to be priest in the church is a blessing.

There is of course the problem that I can still remember when, as a young upstart I said, "Look, there's Fr. George. Man....he's been a priest forty years. He must be really old." Damn! Behold.

24 comments:

  1. Wow, you certainly picked the right part of la isla...Fajardo the lovliest beach of them all (no doubt you tanned beautifully on your daywatch)...I love Puerto Rico and often think I ought be in Fajardo (or Mayaguez or Condado or anywhere/there) thinking magical and mystical thoughts...the well-known artist (watercolor) Thelma Rivera from Puerto Rico is visiting Central America this week...she came for lunch on Wednesday and gifted me with a collection of her notecard color prints (she actually taught Art at The Cathedral School of San Juan Bautista on Ponce de Leon in the 60´s)...made we want to cry, every accurately rendered one...I don´t think Puerto Rico ever leaves anyones mind/heart/bloodstream...it´s more than enchanting...it´s compelling, it is seductive....whew, congratulations Fr. Harris in all that you do...no wonder you do so much...what a launch!

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  2. well, if it is really only "forth" years (need to correct that!), no problem.

    Mark you are an absolute jewel and the fact that you have been in service to TEC that long is just our blessing, over, and over and over.

    May God keep and bless you, Mark, and God, thank you for your steady servant, Mark, and his shining witness among us.

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  3. Congratulations on your anniversary, Fr. Mark!

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  4. Fr. Mark,
    From the hinterlands of the valley of San Joaquin I send you congratulations on your fortieth! I used to think 40 was really old - dog gone if I wasn't right! ;-)

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  5. Congratulations from the Global North!

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  6. Mark, you are a gift of and to the church. Forty more years would not be enough.

    Re: the bishop's blessing. I had the same experience at my ordination. It was especially poignant as my ordaining bishop had once been an ardent opponent of the ordination of women. I was blessed far more than the bishop.

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  7. ¡Felicidades, Padre! May God continue to bless you in your ministry.

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  8. ...he must be really old!

    Mark, there are no words as bitter as our own when they come home to roost.

    Congratulations on your anniversary day. TEC has been enriched by your ministry.

    Kronis Pola!

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  9. Congratulations on such an wonderful anniversary, Fr. Mark.

    May you have many more celebrations of an ordination that has truly blessed the church and the people to whom you minister both in real life and in the web world.

    Linda R.

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  10. Muchas bendiciones... we are the richer for your 41 years of ministry. ¡Sigue adelante!

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  11. Congratulations and thanks be to God for your ministry!

    Many blessings on this day.

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  12. Congratulations, Mark, on your anniversary. You are a blessing to the church. Marilyn

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  13. Congratulations, Fr. Mark!

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  14. Mark,

    Thank you for sharing the anniversary with us - congratulations! What a special ordination ceremony you had, and such good news that this small church grew and is thriving.

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  15. Congratulations Fr. Mark, and Amen to all the comments of gratitude above.

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  16. Congratulations, Mark. You are and will continue to be a blessing to the church.

    I'm glad you can still count, even if you can't always spell exactly right the first time. ;o) FWIW, I do a good bit of editing after posting, often thanks to a word from the comments.

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  17. Congratulations on your anniversary!

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  18. Mazel Tov, Mark!

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  19. Congratulations and blessings Mark. I have been blessed by you and your ministry for twenty five of them. God bless, friend. Ian

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  20. Congrats!

    Forty years well spent.


    FWIW
    jimB

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  21. Happy, blessed anniversary Mark, you living blessing



    David@Montreal

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  22. Mark, I thank God for your ministry in our church. You are a blessing.
    (You're also a miserable speller ... but we'll let that slide. ;-)
    A big hug coming your way!
    Lisa

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  23. Congratulations!

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  24. I add my congratulations to all the others. I am sure you have seen a lot of changes and experienced a lot of growth during your years as a priest.

    Peace and blessings as you continue in the years ahead.

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