At 10 a.m. this morning, Patrick Farley will don vestments, lay prone on the floor in front of the altar, and when Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted places his hands on Farley’s head, he will become a Catholic priest.
The former cookie-sales manager then will embark on the path less taken as the Phoenix Diocese’s first new priest in two years, a period of time that has seen close to a dozen priests retire, resign or be placed on leave.
When ordained, he will become the youngest, at 30, of the diocese’s 230 priests. As many as half of them are retired or nearing retirement age. These priests serve 560,000 Catholics and an uncounted number of others who are not registered with parishes.
"This is what I was made to do," Farley says of his decision. "I really want to be a servant of God."
"Giving back, being of service, that was always instilled in us by our parents," says Farley, the oldest of five children."
…The celibacy requirement for priests is often blamed for the clergy shortage. But Farley doesn’t view it as a hardship. He dated before his "calling," but nothing clicked, he said.
"Everyone needs intimacy," he said. "That doesn’t have to mean sex. To share the core of who you are, that is what intimacy is all about."
He said celibacy is "a gift" to the individual priest and his congregation, one that will help him do his part to reach out to the next generation of priests. [Source]
Interesting also that this diocese that was one plagued by scandals and was previously headed by the infamous hit-and-run Bishop Thomas O’Brien now has eight seminarians entering in the fall.