Today we commemorate the anniversary of the priestly ordination of our founder, St. Anthony Mary Claret on June 13, 1835.
“Lord, I want to know nothing but your holy will, that I may do it, and do it, Lord, as perfectly as possible. I want nothing but you yourself, Lord, and in you-and only through and for you--all other things. For you are all I need. You are my Father, my friend, my brother, my spouse, my all. I love you, my Father, my strength, my refuge, and my consoler. Make me love you, Father, as you love me and wish me to love you. I know, my Father, that I do not love you as I ought, but I am quite sure that a day will come when I will love you as much as I desire to because you will grant me this love I ask through Jesus and Mary.” (St. Anthony Mary Claret’s Autobiography, #445)
Anthony Mary Claret was ordained a priest in Solsona, in the province of Lérida, on June 13, 1835, at age 27. He was ordained three years earlier than prescribed because his ordinary, Bishop Corcuera y Caserta recognized his exceptional giftedness. Unfortunately, Corcuera fell gravely ill, and Claret was ordained by Fray Juan José de Tejada, OFM. Following ordination, Claret continued studying moral theology, while serving pastorally in his hometown of Sallent.
To Claret, priestly ordination was the realization of a childhood dream but, above all, it was the beginning of his career as an apostolic missionary. Unlike many clerics of his time, he regarded priesthood as the ideal confluence of preaching the Word, celebrating the sacraments, and exercising pastoral care. He could not imagine himself confined to a parish, and early on he volunteered for the foreign missions. Unable to pursue that goal, he devoted himself to itinerant preaching throughout Catalonia and the Canary Islands.
As ought to be the case universally, ordination is by no means a destination but a point of departure. Claret needed time to discover his ministerial calling. However, when all is said and done, he ‘lived the priesthood as his own way of surrendering to God, and living united to Christ and the church. In his priestly and apostolic vocation, he discovered the need to live evangelically, always imitating the life of the Lord and the Apostles, entirely detached and committed to the proclamation of the Gospel” (General Chapter of 1967. PE 35).
For this occasion, some of the Claretians of the U.S.-Canada Province shared memories from their ordinations:
“On this day, I felt my life come together. I could see on that day how God had been leading me through all the events of my life to that day from my mission experiences to my time in the Franciscans to my time teaching and my time working with those with intellectual disabilities, it all brought me to that moment.” Fr. Ray Smith, CMF
"On that day, I was nervous but the Lord and the presence of so many people, friends and relatives, helped me stay calm. I was emotional during the entire ordination ceremony. I felt very relaxed and at peace at the end of the ordination." Fr. Paulus Marandi, CMF
"I had always thought that priesthood was going to be something I did as a Claretian Missionary. The day of my ordination I realized that it is about being not doing, I'm both a Claretian Missionary and a priest." Fr. Agustín Carrillo, CMF
“My ordination took place at San Gabriel Mission, on September 21, 1989. That time and that day was for me a time of much gratitude for such a gift. It was also a time of great sense of peace and joy.” Fr. Gabriel Ruiz, CMF
Could you be called to a vocation to serve the people of God as a missionary? Check out www.myclaret.org to find out more and contact a vocation director who will be happy to accompany you on your discernment journey.