This web-logger joins with the entire Diocese of Allentown in praising the Triune God for Father Jason F. Stokes, newly-ordained priest in the line of Melchisedek (Ps. 110:4), shepherd after the heart of the LORD (Jer 3:15), and co-worker in the ministry of the Apostles.
The homilist for Fr. Stokes' Mass of Thanksgiving remarked that a newly-ordained priest is a sign from God that He wants the Church to go on; this is much like the saying that "a baby is a sign that God wants the world to go on." Both verities convey God's pleasure with His people, His interest in our augmentation both in quantity and in quality.
The homilist further noted that, like a certain current Ordinary of our diocese, Fr. Stokes is the son of parents who converted to Catholicism. Mr. and Mrs. Stokes have raised three children for the Church, counting Jason's twin brother and his sister.
The homilist further noted that Jason's parish family fostered his priestly vocation alongside the domestic Church of his household.
The homilist further noted that Fr. Stokes profited from a sound Catholic secondary education and a vibrant involvement in the campus ministry of his college.
One may safely conclude that there are many auxiliary "vocation directors" whose efforts set the foundation without which a diocese may never learn who is interested in (and by God's grace capable of) the gift and mystery of priesthood. It takes a Church to raise a priest or vowed religious.
To a "numbers person" one priest does not sound like a bumper crop, but our Holy Father Benedict XVI has reinforced the truth that numbers don't say everything. However, given the manifest need for proclaimers of the Gospel, celebrants of the sacraments, and caregivers of Christian charity, numbers are by no means to be discounted.
Planting in the soil of orthodox teaching, profound liturgy, and honest compassion, in time we will shake the trees to yield a richer harvest. This stands as a challenge for Holy Guardian Angels and for all our sacred institutions.