ORDINATIONS — Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen confers ordination upon Edward Gibney and Michael Yaremko by laying his hands on the head of each man — a gesture repeated by the many priests present as a sign of unity and shared spirit. (Photo by Tim Yaworski)
SASKATOON — Years of discernment and journeying in faith culminated in the priestly ordination of Rev. Michael Yaremko and Rev. Edward Gibney on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, June 29, at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon. With the diocese still awaiting the appointment of a bishop, Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen returned to the city for the ordination.
Archbishop Murray Chatlain of Keewatin-Le Pas, Bishop Bryan Bayda of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, of St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, and some 65 priests joined Bolen in blessing Yaremko and Gibney in the presence of family, friends, and diocesan and parish representatives who filled the cathedral for the evening celebration.
Rev. Colin Roy, who serves as diocesan vocations director along with Rev. Daniel Yasinski, presented the candidates for priesthood, while rectors of the seminaries where each man studied provided testimony on behalf of the candidates.
Rev. Stephen Hero described how Yaremko came to St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton with training as a teacher and some five years of formation with the Legionaries of Christ before discerning a call to serve as a diocesan priest. “His years of previous formation had certainly helped to form a missionary heart in this mature young man, and he brought gifts of discipline and joy, prayer and charity to our community,” said Hero.
“Michael completed his master of divinity degree this year in Edmonton, and his ministry at the seminary and at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Edmonton again showed the maturity of this missionary disciple of Christ and his readiness to shepherd, teach and sanctify the People of God as a priest, after the heart of Jesus Christ.”
Canon Philip Gillespie of the Pontifical Beda College in Rome sent a letter in support of Gibney, read by Roy.
“As Ed comes to the end of his four years at the Beda College, we thank him most sincerely for the warm and generous way in which he has engaged with and enriched the life of the college. . . . we believe that good foundations have been laid and he has shown ample evidence of the talents and the priestly heart necessary for ministry within the diocese,” wrote Gillespie.
“We rely on the help of the Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and we choose these men, our brothers, for priesthood in the presbyteral order,” announced Bolen, with the assembly responding, “Thanks be to God,” followed by a round of applause.
In his homily, Bolen reflected on God as the potter who forms and sculpts our lives, just as he formed and sculpted the lives of Sts. Peter and Paul.
“We hear Paul tell us that we are earthen vessels, we are clay jars,” said Bolen, citing the second reading from 2 Corinthians. “As clay jars we are marked by the things of the earth, by our wounds, brokenness and decay. But by God’s grace we hold something extraordinary within us. This is who the church is. This is who we are. We are fragile, we are scratched, we are cracked — but by God’s grace we share in a mystery, we carry a treasure. We live a mystery. It is a Paschal Mystery: God living and dying and rising for us, God living and dying and rising within us. This is our story.”
Bolen described how when he arrived as bishop of Saskatoon in 2010, Gibney was the State Deputy for the Knights of Columbus. When Gibney mentioned in passing that he might consider the seminary after his term was finished, Bolen “remembered that word” and reminded Gibney of it later. Gibney’s uncle, Rev. Charles Gibney, had been a mentor to Bolen years ago, “speaking a word” that opened the door to the priesthood for him.
Originally from Yorkton, Yaremko came to the diocese after years of discernment and faith formation, with “gifts that had been growing, that had been tested,” noted Bolen. “When you got in touch with me, your message had been preceded by a couple of others, saying, ‘There is a fellow who is going to be coming to you about coming to the Diocese of Saskatoon; this is good news,’ ” Bolen recalled.
Bolen urged Yaremko and Gibney to trust that God will be there to support them, as God was there for St. Peter and for St. Paul. “Trust God with your own brokenness, your own woundedness. Trust God with your poverty. Let Jesus minister to you there, as he ministered to Paul and to Peter there, and let that be a source of compassion as you respond to others in their woundedness,” said the archbishop.
The rite of ordination continued with Gibney and Yaremko declaring their intention to care for the Lord’s flock, promising to celebrate the mysteries of Christ faithfully, to preach the Gospel and, uniting themselves to Christ, to consecrate their lives to God for the salvation of the people. Both men then pledged obedience to the local bishop.
As a sign of surrender to God, Gibney and Yaremko lay prostrate on the floor in front of the altar while the assembly prayed for the intercession of the saints and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The archbishop then conferred ordination by laying his hands on the head of each man — a gesture repeated by the many priests present as a sign of unity and shared spirit.
After a prayer of consecration, the newly ordained were vested with the stole (a sign of the priestly office) and the chasuble (the eucharistic vestment. Each newly ordained priest then knelt before the archbishop, who anointed their hands with the oil of Sacred Chrism.
A chalice and paten were presented to each new priest, with the words, “Know what you are doing and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.” Yaremko and Gibney then joined the bishops and priests at the altar to celebrate the eucharist.
The celebration was followed by a reception, with long lines of those wishing to congratulate the new priests and receive their blessings.
As of Aug. 1, Yaremko will serve as associate pastor at St. Augustine Parish in Humboldt, St. Scholastica Parish in Burr, Holy Trinity parish in Pilger, and Assumption of Our Lady Parish in Marysburg. Gibney will serve as pastor of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Biggar and Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Landis.