100TH PRIEST ORDAINED FOR DIOCESE YESTERDAY
Yesterday, our Church ordained its 100th priest since its establishment in 1968. John Bailey Lipscomb was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop John C. Favalora, Archbishop of Miami, at the Chapel of St. James, Bethany Center in Lutz. Father John is the first priest to enter priestly service in our diocese under what is called the “Pastoral Provision” by which married Anglican/Episcopalian priests can become priests of the Roman Rite. Father John and his wife Marci made their profession of faith almost two years ago at Nativity parish in Brandon and he has been assigned to be the priest-in-residence and Spiritual Director at the Bethany Center. In this capacity he will be celebrating the sacraments for groups who may be unable to have the presence of a priest, assisting in hearing the confessions of young people on retreat and guiding retreatants during their stay at Bethany. He spent his diaconate months at St. Paul parish in Tampa and will celebrate his First Mass this coming Sunday at St. Paul and then another the following Sunday at Nativity, Brandon.
Since I was uncertain of my ability to preside at the ordination ceremony, I invited Archbishop Favalora to return to ordain Father Lipscomb and he graciously accepted. I was able to preach and if you wish, you can read my homily for the occasion.
100 priests in forty-eight years ordained for this diocese is a milestone of sorts but also an indicator of how desperate we are for vocations from the diocese. With over thirty in the seminary at this time, things look brighter but I don’t count my chickens until my hands rest on their heads at their ordination. What I do count as a blessing is the renewed generosity of young men to try the seminary against the current of popular opinion about the celibate and chaste life and I also pray that the sisters may also experience a growth in vocations.
Congratulations, Father John Lipscomb and we welcome you to priestly ministry in the Church of St. Petersburg.
Pictures by Ray Basett, Maddock Photographers
for the Diocese of Saint Petersburg