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.