By Debbie Shelley

The Catholic Commentator

The Catholic CommentatorJubilant sounds of “Laudate, Laudate Dominum” heralded Father John Minh Vu and Father Timothy Andrew Grimes’ approach to the altar at Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge where Bishop Michael G. Duca ordained them priests to the Diocese of Baton Rouge on May 25. 

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Bishop Michael G. Duca, center, ordained Father Tim Grimes, left, and Father John Vu priests to the Diocese of Baton Rouge on May 25 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge. Photos by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator 

 

Joining Father Grimes, Father Vu and Bishop Duca in the processional were Bishop Emeritus Robert W. Muench, priests and deacons and classmates. 

Following the opening prayers and the singing of the Gloria, the readings for the Mass were presented in English and Vietnamese. The Gospel reading was John 21:15-17, in which the resurrected Christ calls St. Peter to sacrifice his life in love for him through the commands “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep” and “Feed my sheep.”

Father Vu and Father Grimes stepped forward from their pews, where they were seated with their parents and family. Father Matthew Lorrain, Director of Seminarians and Lisette Borné, Associate Director of Vocations and Seminarians testified to the readiness of the candidates. Attendees applauded after the candidates were chosen by Bishop Duca and the consent of the people.  

Father Vu and Father Grimes sat in front of the bishop as he addressed them in his homily. 

“I know you probably thought this day might never come when you first started. And now it is here you are about to be ordained a priest,” said Bishop Duca as Father Grimes and Father Vu listened with expectant joy radiating from    

Bishop Duca told the two they will bring their “own unique flavor and insight” into the priesthood.  

“And it will not just be your talents, but just as important, it will be your weakness from which you will draw the greatest and deepest wisdom. As long as you are not afraid to let that weakness be shown to the people and let them gain from the wisdom that you have learned of what it means to be weak so that Christ can be strong,” said Bishop Duca.  

He said their priesthood will be a “living of the sacraments” and as they bring Christ closely in their hearts they must be close to the people, and as Pope Francis said, “smell like sheep.” Bishop Duca emphasized it will take sacrifice and obedience to do this.  

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Father Tim Grimes, left, and Father John Vu prostrate themselves before the altar during the Litany of Saints. 

 

By embracing the paschal mystery the newly ordained will join Christ at the cross and then be lifted up, noted Bishop Duca.  

“There you understand the Eucharist, there you’ll understand what it means to be a priest and you’ll be humbled. And you will be freed. And I pray that you discover the deeper joy that comes with being a priest,” said Bishop Duca.  

Next came the rite of ordination as Bishop Duca questioned both men on their willingness to embrace the office of priesthood. The two knelt before the bishop and promised respect and obedience to him and his successors.  

During the litany of supplication, the elect prostrated themselves before the altar.

After Bishop Duca laid hands on the elect and prayed the prayer of ordination to the priesthood, Father Grimes was vested with the stole and chasuble with assistance from Father Matthew Graham and Father Paul Counce. Father Vu was vested with assistance from his brother, Father Joseph Vu, and Father An Vu. 

With the oil of chrism, Bishop Duca anointed the hands of the kneeling Father Vu and Father Grimes as he prayed, “The Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, guard and preserve you, that you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifice to God.” 

The gifts of bread and wine were then brought forward to Bishop Duca, who in turn, gave it to the two new priests with the instructions to celebrate the Eucharist and conform their lives to Christ. 

Following Bishop Duca’s kiss of peace to the newly ordained, the priests came forward and gave Father Vu and Father Grimes a fraternal kiss as a sign of their being joined to the order of priests. 

Following the welcome, the newly ordained joined at the altar table for the celebration of the Eucharist. 

The Mass concluded with congratulations from Bishop Duca to the diocese’s newest priests and words of thanks to their families and all who supported the two on their journey to ordination. 

During the concluding prayer, Bishop Duca extended his hands over the newly ordained. Following the final blessing, bells pealed and the hymn “Oh God Beyond All Praising” reverberated in the cathedral as family and friends streamed outside to embrace and be blessed by Father Vu and Father Grimes. 

Father Tim Grimes, left, and Father John Vu prostrate themselves before the altar during the Litany of Saints. hotos by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator 

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Priests of the Diocese of Baton Rouge lay hands on Father Tim Grimes, left, and Father John Vu.