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Two Friars Ordained Priests on Province’s Feast Day

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Ross Chamberland (l) and Jeffery Jordan (r) prepare the gifts alongside Cardinal Sean O’Malley. (Photo courtesy of Octavio Duran)

BOSTON — On the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus gained two new priests.

Friars, friends and family members gathered Jan. 3 at St. Anthony Shrine for the celebration of the rite of presbyteral ordination of Ross Chamberland, OFM, and Jeffery Jordan, OFM. The two men had professed their final vows as Franciscans in August. It was the first ordination held at St. Anthony Shrine since 1982, according to research done by The Boston Globe, which published an article about the ceremony.

Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, OFM Cap., archbishop of Boston, celebrated the 11 a.m. Mass with concelebrants Kevin Mullen, OFM, and Lawrence Hayes, OFM, Provincial Minister and Vicar respectively. Also participating were two priests who vested the newly ordained friars at the Mass: Andrew Reitz, OFM, the first Franciscan pastor at Jeffery’s parish, and Fr. Leo LeBlanc, Ross’s childhood pastor from Nashua, N.H.

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From left to right: Fr. Leo LeBlanc, Kevin Mullen, Ross Chamberland, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Jeffery Jordan, Lawrence Hayes and Andrew Reitz. (Photo courtesy of Octavio Duran)

Celebration and Joy
“It is a joy to be here to ordain two friars on the Franciscan feast of the Holy Name,” said Cardinal O’Malley. “I want to congratulate Jeffery and Ross and their families. I also want to thank the friars of the Shrine and ministry center for your witness to Franciscan life.”

In his homily, the cardinal emphasized the value of faith and described the role and the life of a priest.

“A priest’s life is about working for another, for Jesus Christ,” he said. “Faith must never be a burdensome piece of luggage that we drag along. Faith is not a burden. It is a joy.”

He continued: “Disciples and pastors must have an eye for the little people. For you as Franciscan priests, the little ones are your special friends. A priest must have the same thirst for souls as Jesus.”

“Remember the words of John the Baptist who said, ‘I am not the Messiah,’” the cardinal added. “Today, I tell you what Jesus told his first disciples: ‘Behold the fields are ripe for harvest.’ Roll up your sleeves.” A video of his homily was created by Octavio Duran, OFM.

At the conclusion of the Mass celebrated on an altar decked with Christmas colors, the Provincial Minister expressed gratitude to all who participated.

“We friars of Holy Name Province and St. Anthony Shrine would like to express heartfelt thanks to Cardinal Sean,” said Kevin. “It’s good to have one of our own here.”

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Ross Chamberland with Bishop Francis Christian and the Knights of Columbus, following the Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Nashua, N.H. (Photo courtesy of Ross)

Studies and Ministry
The new priests, both in their 30s, celebrated their First Mass the following day, Jeffery at the Shrine and Ross at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Nashua, N.H., his baptismal parish.

Bishops Francis Christian of Manchester, N.H., and Robert Hennessey of Boston, as well as several concelebrants, participated in his liturgy of the Mass of Thanksgiving, said Ross. More than 800 people joined the celebration.

A native of Nashua, Ross has worked in several parishes in varied roles, including as liturgical coordinator, catechist and group facilitator for AIDS/HIV patients. “I joined the Order to be a peacemaker and one who makes all people feel welcome in our Church,” said Ross, who initially was a member of the Capuchin Order. Ross earned a bachelor’s degree in social justice from Emmanuel College, Boston, a master’s in theological studies from Washington Theological Union and a pontifical graduate degree in theology from The Catholic University of America.

“The ordination was a beautiful celebration,” he said. “I am grateful to have shared the experience of being ordained with my brother Franciscans and many priests, friends, mentors and family members.”

Ross is returning to Western New York this week, where he is an instructor at St. Bonaventure University and executive director of The Lateran Center, a new residential discernment initiative.

Jeffery, who was raised in Royston, Ga., was originally a member of the Pentecostal Holiness Church. He was welcomed into the Roman Catholic faith in 2004. Soon after, he met the Franciscan friars at Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Fla., where Andrew was pastor.  He said he found himself drawn to “the unique Franciscan spirituality of God’s presence in all things.” Jeffery, who holds bachelor’s degrees in linguistics and Romance languages, and a master of divinity degree, is currently pursuing a S.S.L. in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

He said, “I see this ordination as deepening my service to the people of God in terms of sacramental ministry. As my theological education stressed and I firmly agree, priesthood is first and foremost about service, and I understand ordination as a particular calling within my vocation as a Franciscan friar.”

“The last few months have been intense as I adjust to a new international community at the Antonianum while being challenged with studies in Greek and Hebrew,” added Jeff, who flew back to Rome on Sunday. ” I feel humbly blessed to be able to pursue my passion for Scripture while coming to know the international face of the Order. As I exercised my diaconate, I plan to exercise this ministry of priesthood within Rome as I continue my studies.”

Photos of the ordination Mass can be found on the Facebook page of St. Anthony’s Guild.

Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.