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OBITUARY: Father Donald Gelpi, SJ

placeholder May 23, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 10   •   Oakland, CA

Gerald Pedrera, Rafal Duda, Alexander Castillo and Edilberto Castañas present themselves for ordination.
Four ordained to the priesthood

Four men from three nations were ordained to the priesthood May 14 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.

The ordinands prostrate themselves in front of the altar during the Rite of Ordination.

The new priests are Father Edilberto Solis Castañas, Father Alexander Quiós Castillo, Father Rafal Duda and Father Gerald Pedrera.
Fathers Castañas and Pedrera are from the Philippines; Father Castillo is from Costa Rica; and Father Duda is from Poland.

The Mass, celebrated by Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, included five languages — English, Latin, Polish, Spanish and Tagalog. The First Reading was proclaimed in Polish; the Second Reading in Tagalog. Bishop Cordileone’s homily was delivered in both English and Spanish. Family and friends filled the church, and many people came from parishes where the four men had served as deacons.

Bishop Emeritus John Cummins was among the principal concelebrants. More than 60 priests participated in the Mass.

“The identity of the priest is that of Jesus Christ, as exemplified in that Last Supper,” Bishop Cordileone said in his homily. “He began that evening by washing the feet of his disciples, to teach by example the primacy of charity. Charity, of course, is love in action: not an idea, not a feeling, but the gift of self.”

Bishop Cordileone ended his homily, speaking to the four men: “Jesus left us an example when he knelt down to wash the feet of his disciples. St. Paul models for us what it means to follow this example: ‘When he had finished speaking he knelt down and prayed with them all.’ Eddie, Alex, Rafal and Gerald: continue to kneel down before your Lord to pray, and now, to pray with and for your people; continue to kneel down before them, whose servants and friends you now become. If you do, you will embody the teaching our Lord first modeled for us, and so fulfill the call he sends you now on this day of your ordination: ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’”

After the Rite of Ordination, the four new priests, wearing their new white vestments, moved from their seats in the first row of the Cathedral into four spaces that awaited them among their brother priests.

The priests have received their first assignments: Father Castañas to St. Joseph Parish in Pinole; Father Castillo to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Fremont; Father Duda to St. Patrick Parish in Rodeo; and Father Pedrera to St Leander Parish in San Leandro.

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