Sunday, June 12, 2011

A New Priest's First Mass

Fr. William Benjamin Schierer

The chant hung in the air, a sole voice singing a prelude prayer to the solemn High Mass that was about to begin. Reverently, the processional cross moved from the sacristy to the back of the long center aisle. Following silently behind were a host of altar boys, deacons & priests ready to process down the aisle to begin the Sacrifice of the Mass -- the first Mass celebrated by Fr. William Benjamin Schierer.

Fr. Schierer celebrated the Mass in Latin with all the "smells and bells" that it incorporates. It was so beautiful, too beautiful for words really.

So solemn.

It was perfect for the celebration of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit first descended upon the disciples in the upper room.

The day the Church was born, a new priesthood emerged. Blessed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to answer the call to the priesthood -- Fr. Schierer has a significant anniversary on which to remember his very first Mass as a priest.

The joy of a first Mass alone is enough to make you shed tears. But, before the final blessings, Fr. Schierer did what all new priests do, explained the tradition of giving his mother the cloth on which he wiped the sacred oil off his hands at his ordination. He explained, tearfully, that upon her death, the cloth would be with her so that she could show the Lord that she had given a most precious gift to the Church -- the gift of a priest. Not an eye in the house was dry, to include the strongest and burliest of men. It was a tender moment that touched the heart of all believers, and perhaps made an impact on a few whose faith may have been weak.

It was indeed a grace-filled Mass, followed by a grace-filled afternoon.

A Knights of Columbus reception followed the Mass in the parish hall where hundreds gathered to receive their blessing from Fr. Schierer -- a privilege not to be missed.

After about 4 hrs. of Mass and reception, the crowds finally dispersed and the hall was ready to be returned to its original state. But lingering in the afterglow was the grace and awe that comes from every priest's first celebration of the Sacred Mass. The last few who remained didn't want the day to come to a close; it was just too infused with grace to come to an end.

God bless, Fr. William Schierer, who will be Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Hope in Potomac Falls, Virginia.


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