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.
The Saginaw Diocese under Bishop Untener averaged one ordination a year with no ordinations since 2001. Bishop Carleson was installed in February 2005, appointed himself as vocations director and just announced that there will be at least 11 seminarians this September. True to Bishop Carleson’s humble nature, he declined to take any credit for this huge and desparately needed increase. Thanks be to God for His continued blessings to both these dioceses.
Lucy: My brother was ordained right after the scandal broke. Was he anxious or afraid? Nope. He’s a fightin’ man, and he’ll gladly lay down his life for you, me and the Church. He proudly wears his collar, doggedly adheres to orthodoxy and loves his celibacy. He maintains that should forces for permission to allow a married priesthood ever prevail, it would soon spell a disdain (maybe even persecution) for priests like himself who embrace and understand the Church’s teaching on celibacy.
Yes, our dear Bp Olmsted is slowly but surely cleaning house and bringing the Diocese of Phoenix back to its place in the sun.
Also, I believe that another article on this here in the Valley stated that there are two more slated to be ordained next year if all goes well. And eight seminarians! Yippee!
Congratulations and the choicest of blessings to our new Father Farley! He will be assigned to a parish in south Phoenix–good luck!