‘Sweet sounds to my ears’
Donald Eugene Bedore
ordained to the priesthood
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
(See the photo slide show above) Surrounded by family and friends, Donald Eugene Bedore, a former meat cutter from Jetmore, stood proudly yet humble before the Most Rev. John Balthasar Brungardt at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe May 28, as he took his final journey toward the priesthood.
It was the first priestly ordination for the young bishop, and the first priestly ordination in the Diocese of Dodge City since Fathers Wesley Schawe and Trong Tran were ordained together May 22, 2004.
“Father Donald Eugene Bedore,” Bishop Brungardt said, smiling. “Father Bedore … Father Don … Father. Those are sweet sounds to my ears.
“Vatican II taught the incredible meaning of those words: ‘Priests are made in the likeness of Christ the Priest by the Sacrament of Orders, so that they may, in collaboration with their bishops, work for the building up and care of the Church which is the whole Body of Christ, acting as ministers of him who is the Head,’” he said, quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“Deacon Don, soon to be Father Don, you are about to receive this extraordinary sacrament, a sacrament that will change your very being, a consecration that will alter your essence; you will be changed ontologically. For the Sacrament of Holy Orders ‘confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a sacred power which can come only from Christ himself through his Church….’”
Early in the ordination, then-Deacon Bedore was called forward for the calling and the presentation of the candidate, with Father Benjamin Dande, MSFS, and Msgr. Brian Moore at his sides. When Msgr. Moore announced to Bishop Brungardt that there was unanimous consent to accept Deacon Bedore as a priest, the cathedral erupted in applause.
“I remember my ordination to the priesthood 13 years ago,” Bishop Brungardt said in his homily, following the “calling and presentation.” “My nephew Michael, about five years old, was in the front row with his family in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. As Bishop Eugene Gerber was laying hands on me in silence, Michael whispered to his dad: ‘Is that when Uncle John is gettin’ the magic?’ A beautiful and insightful ‘child’s theology!’ … He knew something extraordinary was happening, something that he could only articulate as ‘magic.’ No, it is not magic, but a reality of our Catholic Faith. Deacon Don, you will soon become a ministerial priest forever.
“…We gather together in the Cathedral Church, with your new bishop, and the faithful, to celebrate this gift Jesus is giving to you, to our diocesan Church, and to the Universal Church. The Catholic Church teaches that the ordination ‘celebration calls for as many of the faithful as possible to take part’ (CCC, #1572). We are all praying for you, that you, with God’s grace, be a holy priest.”
As the bishop so often does, he called forward the children in the cathedral, who shyly walked to the center of the worship space and sat around the front of the altar.
With the children seated before the congregation, the bishop explained, with their help, the “five sacraments [then-Deacon Bedore] will be celebrating most often.”
In the sacrament of marriage, the bishop said, “there is a trinity …: husband, wife, and God. Encourage the couple to look at their Loving Lord, and how He will give them the grace to have a happy, holy, life-long marriage.”
With several children following behind, the bishop then moved to the Baptismal Font, where a young girl held a baby doll while a young boy, dressed in a stole, “baptized” as the bishop narrated.
“I remember my first baptism, the day after I was ordained a deacon 14 years ago,” he said. “My nephew Paul was a newborn, and his family and my extended family gathered at St. Paul Catholic Church in Wichita for the baptism. As my first sacrament as an ordained man, I was overwhelmed by God’s grace and beauty and gift. During the baptism itself, my little niece Catherine, a cousin to Paul, exclaimed ‘Uncle John is pouring water on that baby’s head!’ More children’s theology. Catherine knew that something special was happening. Paul was becoming an adopted son of our Heavenly Father, his original sin was remitted, and he was made a Catholic forever. Keep teaching your catechumens and parents about the extraordinary gift of baptism.”
In one of the more amusing moments during the Mass, the bishop seated a boy in his cathedra. As another boy knelt before him as if amid the sacrament of Confession, the bishop had the boy in his cathedra offer the other boy a sign of the cross – a sign of God’s forgiveness.
“I remember my first confession as a newly ordained priest,” the bishop said. “The penitent walked into the confessional, and I panicked. I said to myself, ‘I can’t do this …. I can’t do this ….’ Then a wave a grace washed over me, the Lord touched me with His peace, His consolation, His love, and I said to myself, ‘I can’t do this without You … I can’t do this without You ….’ And I celebrated my first confession.”
“…You will find that the sacrament of confession, that has blessed you for many years as a penitent, will be a moving gift from God as you also become a confessor. Be a gentle, compassionate confessor, always trusting in the mercy, grace and love of God as you pray ‘I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”’
Then, as a “sick” child lay before the altar, another child offered the sacrament in times of illness and death.
“We bring the mercy and hope of our Risen Jesus to a time of suffering and pain,” the bishop said. “‘Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up. Amen.’ Trust in those words; faithfully reach out to those who are ill or dying and their families.
Bishop Brungardt then invited the children to stand around the altar, where the boy dressed in the bishop’s stole raised his arms as if a priest.
“The source and summit of our lives: the Holy Eucharist. Deacon Don, you will soon celebrate, as a ministerial priest, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where ‘under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity.’ You will be ‘united to the sacrifice of Christ, which will be offered through your hands in an unbloody way on the altar, in union with the faithful’ (Ordination Rite, #151). Let this incredible gift sustain and strengthen you in your new ministry. Bring this Bread of Life to the faithful to nourish them on their journey.”
After the children once again took their seats, the bishop stood before then-Deacon Bedore:
“Father Donald Eugene Bedore … Father Bedore … Father Don … Father.
“Those are sweet sounds to my ears. All the faithful and I of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, and Catholics around the world, will call you “Father” from now on. Be a Father who is holy, trusting in the grace of Jesus to assist. Your Loving Heavenly Father will sustain you. The Holy Spirit will guide you. Our Trinitarian God loves you more than you can ask or imagine.”
Following the bishop’s homily, Deacon Bedore proclaimed his promise to serve the Church and God’s people. With the bishop’s hands wrapped around his own, the deacon promised to be respectful and obedient to the bishop and his successors.
During one of the most moving parts of the celebration, the soon-to-be-ordained lay prostrate on the floor while the Litany of the Saints is sung. The prayer asks for the intercession of the saints, that God may look favorably on the future priest.
Rising, Deacon Bedore then approached the bishop, seated in his cathedra, and knelt before him. The bishop silently placed his hands upon Deacon Bedore’s head, after which each priest present, one by one, also laid their hands upon his head.
The Laying on of Hands by Bishop Brungardt was the first of two essential acts in the sacrament of holy orders, the second being the recitation of the Prayer of Ordination by the bishop.
Then, with the assistance of parishioners from Liberal and Great Bend, a stole and chasuble were placed on Father Bedore by Father Henry Hildebrandt, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Ness City. Father Bedore then had his palms anointed by Bishop Brungardt with holy chrism.
With Bishop Brungardt, Bishop Emeritus Ronald M. Gilmore, and the priests of the Diocese of Diocese of Dodge City standing behind him, Father Bedore, the newest priest of the Diocese of Dodge City, then took part in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
After the ordination, a dinner reception was held in the Holy Family Social Hall, where Father Bedore offered blessings to a long line of those waiting eagerly to greet the diocese’s newest priest.
“I would like to say that … I’m so glad you’re all here to share this with me,” Father Bedore told those gathered before he offered a blessing of the meal. He thanked all those involved for making “this a day I will remember always.”
Editor’s Note: The bishop’s homily can be found in its entirety at dcdiocese.org/register. More than 400 color photos are available for download at dcdiocese.org.