How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the Lord’s name
~Ps 116:12~

These words from the psalmist beautifully describe the interior sentiments of all five men who were ordained to the priesthood during the month of May for the Province of the Immaculate Conception. Hailing from five different countries, (Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hong Kong, and the USA) these new priests were made perpetual participants in the High Priest’s sacrificial office in three different locations on three different days. Fr. Ted Trinko was ordained in his home parish of Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara on May 8th, Our Lady of Lujan’s feast day. Present at that Mass was then Dcn. Michael Zhang who was soon thereafter ordained in his own hometown of Hong Kong on May 20th. Finally, Fr. Manuel Palma, Mariano Ruiz, and Willian Valle together with Dcn. Cecilio Hernandez were ordained together at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC on May 27th by the hands of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick. In his homily, His Eminence highlighted the positive response to God’s call which was given by all the candidates and how their vocation ultimately called them to an intimate union with Christ. All three liturgies were accompanied by an overflowing spirit of joy and gratitude for the grace of the priesthood.

In the days following the ordination, the new priests celebrated their first Masses with large number of their personal and religious family members in attendance. Coming together from all over the world to form their hearts into one like Christ’s, they will now spread back out to the four corners of the globe in order to give back to God’s people by means of the Word of God what they have contemplated during these years of formation.[1]

However, as Bl. Columba Marmion taught, these men were ordained principally in order to give men the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.[2] It was to complete this function that the very sacrament of Holy Orders exists. These priests, who “are bound, to acquire [spiritual] perfection in special fashion”[3] will do so principally through the proper celebration of the Mass since this is the greatest act of priestly charity which can be realized.[4] Acknowledging this, the Venerable Fulton Sheen, himself very talented, taught that the priest’s apostolic effectiveness “has little or nothing to do with their natural endowments. A Eucharistic priest will be a better instrument of the Lord among souls that a learned one who loves him less… ‘I will give such priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.’”[5] On the other hand, the fall of the priest, teaches Sheen, is necessarily accompanied by the priest withdrawing to a distance from the Eucharistic Lord.[6]

But Christ does not come off with the chasuble.[7] And so the priest must perform other ministries as well which do not come about ex opera operantis. Rather, these other ministries which these new priests will perform depend on their very sanctity. This is the teaching of our spiritual father, St. John Paul II, who wrote that the “greater or lesser degree of the holiness of the minster has a real effect on the proclamation of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and the leadership of the community in charity”[8] It is explained by the Holy Vatican Council which stated: “God ordinarily prefers to show his wonders through those men who are more submissive to the impulse and guidance of the Holy Spirit.”[9] This holiness will attract penitents to his confessional,[10] promote the growth of the Church,[11] and inspire him to be heard even by unbelievers.[12] It is not a question of simply choosing to pursue holiness, for Canon Law actually requires it of priests: “In leading their lives, clerics are bound in a special way to pursue holiness since, having been consecrated to God by a new title in the reception of orders, they are dispensers of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.”[13]

But keeping in mind that the very desire for sanctity is a grace which comes from above, we, the new priests of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word, humbly commend ourselves to your prayers. At the risk of sounding cliché, helps us with your prayers, that we might help you with our ministry. There are certain graces which God has deigned only to bestow upon us once we ask Him for them. Here we can see the power of prayer which St. Therese of the Child Jesus described so beautifully: “How great is the power of prayer! One could call it a Queen who has at each instant free access to the King and who is able to obtain whatever she asks.”[14] Therefore we ask you who read this to present yourselves before our heavenly Father, interceding on behalf of all priests, that we might receive docilely the graces needed for the faithful and efficacious fulfillment of our ministry.

May God Bless you all,

Fr. Ted Trinko, IVE


[1] Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, 188, 6: “Preaching should proceed from the fullness of contemplation.”

[2] Cf. Bl. Columba Marmion, Jesucristo: ideal del sacerdote, IIª parte – La obra de la santificación sacerdotal (continuación) B) In iis Quae sunt ad Deum, XI. Haced esto en memoria mía, p. 123.

[3] Vatican Council II, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 12)

[4] Bl. Columbas Marmion, Jesucristo: ideal del sacerdote, IIª parte – La obra de la santificación sacerdotal, 5. La Caridad en el ministerio de la palabra, p. 122: “The most excellent act of priestly charity is the Mass well said. When celebrated, the priest cannot thing exclusively of himself, because he carries in his heart the responsibilities of the souls that are entrusted to Him.”

[5] Fulton Sheen, The Priest Is Not His Own, 233.

[6] Ibid. 184.

[7] Cf. ibid., 56.

[8] Pope St. John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, 25.

[9] Vatican Council II, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 12.

[10] Sheen, The Priest, 152.

[11] Ibid., 77.

[12] Ibid., 81.

[13] Code of Canon Law, 276 §1.

[14] St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Story of a Soul, Ch. 11.

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