WINNIPEG — The Archdiocese of Winnipeg welcomed two news priests into its fold with the ordinations of Rev. Christopher Dubois and Rev. Peter Nemcek by Archbishop Richard Gagnon at St. Mary’s Cathedral July 3, the Feast of St. Thomas.
“We call him Doubting Thomas,” Gagnon said. “Thomas reveals to us that it is normal to express doubt about the divine.” The archbishop quoted from the evening’s Gospel reading of John 20: 24-29: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
“Tonight we have come to celebrate the ordination of these two men. They have become believers and as believers they have discovered the Lord’s call to become ‘fishers of people’ ” (Mt 4-19).
Both Dubois and Nemcek attended St Joseph’s Seminary in Edmonton. Dubois, 27, is originally from Brandon, Man., a parishioner at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church and attended St. Augustine elementary school and Vincent Massey High School. He also holds a degree in political science from Brandon University.
Nemcek, 28, was born and raised in Trnava, Slovakia, and attended St. Angela Merici elementary and high school in his home town. He came to Winnipeg in 2005 and is a graduate of Kildonan East Collegiate and holds a degree in science from the University of Manitoba.
Gagnon told the new priests, “Never forget your life of prayer and the sacraments. You are now to be ordained to serve Christ, the teacher and shepherd, to advance the kingdom of God as the apostles have and to do so with courage and conviction. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”
“Peter and Christopher, you must apply your energy to the duty of teaching. Teach what you know and practice what you teach. When you baptize you will bring people to God. You will pray for the People of God and the whole world. Do your part in the work of Christ with genuine joy and love.”
The first reading, from Isaiah, was proclaimed by Nemcek’s brother, Sebastian. The second reading was proclaimed by Dubois’ cousin, Danielle Dubois. The gifts were brought forth by the parents of the new priests, Tanis and Michael Dubois, and Lydia Nemcekova and Jozef Nemcek.
The Rite of Ordination began with the election of the candidates for ordination, called and presented to the archbishop by Rev. James Debeer, vocations director of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.
The archbishop then declared, “Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, we choose these, our brothers, for the order of the priesthood,” which was met by the applause of the gathering.
During the laying on of hands and prayer of ordination the archbishop and all the concelebrating priests laid their hands on the head of each of the elect, followed by the prayer of ordination.
“Remember,” Gagnon told Nemcek and Dubois, “this priesthood was conceived in prayer. It is in your life of prayer, centred on the eucharist, where you will find the strength to be Christ’s priests. The People of God need to see in you the image of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve.”
At the conclusion, Gagnon said one of the perks of being archbishop is that he gets to be first to receive a blessing from the new priests. During the reception that followed, long lines were formed by the faithful as they awaited their own blessing from Nemcek and Dubois.