Bishop Olmsted to Ordain Newest Priests on June 16 at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Chandler
PHOENIX (June 11, 2018) — The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, will ordain three men to the priesthood at a special ceremony beginning at 10 a.m., June 16, at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, 3450 W. Ray Road in Chandler. All are welcome to attend.
Deacons Frankie Cicero, 33, John Nahrgang, 38, and Vinhson Nguyen, 29, will be surrounded by hundreds of family, friends and supporters as they receive Holy Orders. They are among nearly 430 others who will become Catholic priests this year throughout the United States.
“What our people need now more than ever before are priests who are confident of the mercy of God, and joyful messengers of the Good News of Jesus,” Bishop Olmsted said. “I give thanks to God for the families of Fr. Cicero, Fr. Nahrgang and Fr. Nguyen, who encouraged their faith and their vocation to the priesthood.”
Ordination is the sacramental ceremony in which Holy Orders will be conferred and the three men will become priests, enabling them to minister in Christ’s name through the Church. The Rite of Ordination ceremony includes various rituals, rich in meaning and history.
Growing up, Cicero said he never thought about becoming a priest until one day nine years ago, describing his calling to the priesthood “one that was a radical revelation of (Christ’s) love and mercy.” He credits this merciful love for giving him the strength and the courage to respond to God’s call to say “yes” to the priesthood. Cicero grew up in the East Valley and is a parishioner at St. Timothy Parish in Mesa.
Nahrgang didn’t grow up Catholic, but does recall tagging along with a friend’s family to his first Mass as a 10-year-old. A self-described agnostic, Nahrgang attended the University of Notre Dame and recognized the growing presence of the Blessed Mother in his life. Six years later, he was accepted into the Catholic Church. He grew up in Minnesota before making his way to Arizona, where he now calls Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale home.
For Nguyen, he said he “wanted to become a priest in the same way a lot of kids wanted to be astronauts and firefighters.” As he continued his discernment, he realized he needed to listen more closely to what God wanted for him. Prayer and participating in the sacraments is ultimately what helped him discern his priestly vocation. Nguyen grew up in Gilbert and is a member of Resurrection Parish in Tempe.
Following their ordination, Fr. Cicero will begin his priestly ministry at Queen of Peace Parish in Mesa; Fr. Nahrgang will serve at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix; and Fr. Nguyen is assigned to St. Daniel the Prophet Parish in Scottsdale.
According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate’s annual national survey, 86 percent of the 2018 class of men ordained to the priesthood were encouraged by about four people in their lives including parish priests, friends or other parishioners. The report also says that the men were, on average, 17 years old when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood.
“The Class of 2018: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood” can be found online. Among the survey’s major findings:
- On average, those studying to become priests first considered priesthood when they were 17 years old, and were scheduled for ordination on average 18 years later (at the age of 35).
Race/Ethnicity and Culture
- The majority of new priests are Caucasian (seven in ten) and were born in the United States (three in four). One in four is foreign-born. By comparison, since 1999, on average each year, 30 percent were foreign-born.
- The four most common countries of birth among the foreign-born are Mexico, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Colombia. On average, they came to live in the United States 12 years ago at the age of 23.
- Between 39 and 47 percent of the new priests attended a Catholic school for at least some part of their schooling. Half (51 percent) participated in a religious education program in their parish for seven years, on average.
- Nearly half (45 percent) report that they completed college or university undergraduate degree before entering the seminary.
- The most common fields of study before entering the seminary are social science, theology or philosophy, business, or liberal arts.
- Two in three (64 percent) reported full-time work experience prior to entering the seminary. One in five worked in education.
- About one in eight (13 percent) reported that one or both parents had a military career in the U.S. Armed Forces. One in twenty served in the U.S. Armed Forces themselves. The percentage of those with experience in different branches of the military varies considerably from year to year.
- Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) served as altar servers before entering the seminary. Nearly three in five (57 percent) served as lectors. Around a half served as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (46 percent). One in three served as catechists (38 percent), in campus ministry or youth ministry (35 percent), or as confirmation sponsors/godfathers (31 percent).
- Nearly nine in ten (86 percent) reported being encouraged to consider the priesthood by someone in their life (most frequently, the parish priest, friend, or another parishioner). On average, four individuals encouraged their vocation.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix is committed to helping the faithful encounter the living Christ through conversion, communion and solidarity. Led by the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, more than 1.1 million Catholics make this diverse, vibrant, and faith-filled diocese their home. Learn more about the Catholic Church at dphx.org.
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