In a day of great joy, Duncan Amek, a native of Homa Bay, Kenya, was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of San Antonio by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, on May 15 at St. Ann’s Church, where had served as a deacon for the past year.
Enthusiastic music and song for the liturgy was performed in Lingala by the Congolese Choir, and family and friends from Dallas, Buffalo, and Kenya attended the ordination.
In his homily, the archbishop told Amek that, to him and through him, the Lord will continue to fulfill his promise to be a Good Shepherd, one who knows his people and cares for them.
A candidate for the priesthood, no matter his age, can easily identify with Jeremiah’s words: “Ah Lord God, I do not know how to speak. I am too young,” from the first reading at the Mass. However, Archbishop Gustavo replied that God’s response is very reassuring: “I know you well! Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. . . I will be with you.”
Pope Francis says that a priest must always remember God’s call: “We are called by God and we are called to be with Jesus, united with him. It is precisely this ‘life in Christ’ that ensures our apostolate is effective, that our service is fruitful.”
The archbishop emphasized to the candidate to remember that he has been called by God every day and hour of his priestly service. “Deepen your understanding of your call by God through daily prayer!”
The San Antonio prelate explained that the second reading, the Letter to the Hebrews, is both consoling and challenging. “It is consoling to realize that we priests are taken from among the community; that we are ‘beset by weakness’ and from this awareness we are able to deal patiently with others,” he said. “It is challenging to acknowledge this in all humility.”
The Missionary of the Holy Spirit continued, “When I lay my hands upon you and anoint you with sacred chrism, we will call down the Holy Spirit upon you — not to honor or reward you with an exalted position — but to enable you to serve others faithfully after the model of the Good Shepherd.”
In the Gospel reading from John, at the Last Supper, Jesus prays that his heavenly Father will consecrate his disciples “in the truth. Your words are truth. As you sent me into the world, so I send them into the world.”
Archbishop Gustavo lamented that we live in a time of chaos and polarization, of “fake news” and distorted information for partisan purposes.
“Duncan,” he stressed, looking directly at the deacon, “As a priest, as a missionary disciple, you are to lead your people in faithfully and boldly proclaiming the truth of the gospel. Bring the Light of Christ into the darkness and shadows of our world. The Holy Spirit will empower you to do this. Our Lady, the Mother of the Church, will be with you, showing you the way to faithful discipleship as a priest!”
At the rite of ordination, Amek went to the archbishop, knelt before him, and place his hands between those of the archbishop, promising obedience, followed by the litany of supplication.
Amek those rose and again knelt before Archbishop Gustavo. The archbishop placed his hands in silence upon Amek’s head. All priests present then placed hands in silence upon the elect. Then, with Amek kneeling before him, the archbishop pronounced the prayer of ordination to the priesthood.
As a newly ordained priest, Father Amek stood and received his stole and chasuble. The archbishop afterwards anointed with holy chrism the psalms of the newly ordained priest, who knelt before him.
Next, some of the faithful brought a paten holding the bread and a chalice containing wine mixed with water for the celebration of the Mass. Archbishop Gustavo placed them in the hands of Father Amek.
Lastly, the archbishop gave the newly ordained the fraternal kiss. Likewise, all of the priests present gave the fraternal kiss to Father Amek as a sign of being joined to the order of priests.
At the conclusion of the liturgy, Father Jim Fischler, CICM, director of the archdiocesan Office for Clergy, announced that Father Amek would be assigned to St. Matthew Church in San Antonio as a parochial vicar.
The new priest’s home parish is St. Paul Cathedral in Homa Bay, Kenya.
Father Amek has stated that his parents played a significant parental and formational role that inspired his vocation to the priesthood.
Besides my family members’ inspiration, I was fascinated by the enormous work and commitment of my pastor, Father Philip Odero, who inspired me,” he said. “I was equally inspired toward priesthood by an old exemplary priest, Father Joseph Musanda, in my parish.”
Father Amek’s first Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated at St. Ann’s the following day, May 16, with Father Larry Christian, pastor, as concelebrant.