This past weekend I was passing through and happened to have the honor of being in northwest Ohio where Fr. Matthew Frisbee was celebrating his first Mass at All Saints Church in Rossford. One got the impression from the start that Mass was filled — and packed it was — with people all well-aware of their call to holiness, seeking to be faithful to it.
From the opening “Ave Maria” to the devout belting of “O God Beyond All Praising,” one praying along couldn’t help but to be edified. The combined parish was filled with thanksgiving at the Mass of thanksgiving with this new priest.
At the conclusion of Mass, Fr. Frisbee asked all gathered, having been nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, to beg the Harvest Master for laborers — more priests — since the Harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. Praying with about 30 concelebrants, many of them young, from the new priest’s life, one got the sense of the fruitful bounty of prayer work being done here.
Sidebar: There was a petition for farmers on the lands of northwest Ohio – this was as if a mid-Mass reminder that I was not in the big city – which could have been forgotten. Even in a modern suburban church structure, the reverence of the Mass rivaled the beauty of any Easter celebration at any Gothic-inspired cathedral.
The Mass was celebrated at 2 P.M. with no working air conditioner in 90-degree heat. Two o’clock had been the only time that a spiritual father of the new father, Fr. Allan Fillman, pastor of Divine Mercy parish, was going to make it. He didn’t ultimately. Having recently lost his battle with cancer, one sensed the possibility of the cool breeze of intercession keeping the congregation — and vested con-celebrants — singing jubilant songs in gratitude to God. Entering into the Paschal feast was what he lived for, and here we were in the sacrifice of the Mass.
Words of wisdom came from the homilist, who urged that souls are saved through fidelity to your calling. He said that the priesthood is supreme joy if it is lived faithfully.
And the young priest, full of joy announced to his parents, upon giving the gifts of the stole under which he heard his first Confession and the cloth that wiped his hand after his anointing with holy chrism oil: We’re not superstitious, so these aren’t go-directly-to-Heaven free cards. God bless him! Priest of Jesus Christ is who their son is now, no question about it. Pray for him and pray for our priests. “We need prayers in our seminaries,” he implored as well.
Never cease to pray for those seeking to hear the voice of God in our lives. That’s a lot of us, I pray!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us and for our priests and seminarians. To quote Sunday’s homilist: The priesthood is a supreme joy if it is lived faithfully.