Cardinal Cupich ordained seven priests for the Archdiocese of Chicago at St. John Brebeuf Church in Niles June 29, the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. At the end of a liturgy featuring face masks and lots of hand sanitizer, Father Larry Josue Basbas, Father Arthur Bautista, Father Ismail Garcia Sainz, Father Patrick Gorman, Father Vinicio Jiménez, Father Henry Lyon, Father Martin Marulanda and Father Patrick Bergin were introduced to the congregation. They gave their first blessings in the church parking lot. An eighth priest, Father Patrick Bergin, was ordained for the Archdiocese of Tabora, Tanzania. The ceremony was modified from previous years to allow for social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of concelebrating bishops and priests was limited, as was the number of guests each of the men could invite. Instead of having priests and bishops shoulder to shoulder, concelebrants were spaced across the sanctuary. Guests sat alone or in family groups, all at least six feet from one another. Instead of a full choir, two cantors sang with the accompaniment of an organ, trumpet and flute. Cardinal Cupich acknowledged the unusual circumstances when he welcomed the congregation, which was both livestreamed and available on YouTube for later viewing. “My special greeting goes to the parents, families and friends of the ordinandi,” he said. “No matter if you are near or far, we are still blessed to have each of you with us today.” After a first reading proclaimed in Tagalog and a second reading proclaimed in Spanish, the Gospel passage, about Peter’s insight that Jesus is the son of God and Jesus giving Peter the “keys to the kingdom.” Cardinal Cupich’s homily focused on the role of God’s grace in priesthood. “We gather for this ordination ceremony on the Solemnity of Peter and Paul, who founded the church of Rome through the shedding of their blood,” the cardinal said. “And yet, as historic as their achievements and accomplishments are, it is striking that the Word of God draws attention instead to how the power of God’s grace transformed their otherwise unremarkable lives and continued to mature them in their calling. That is the legacy we celebrate today in remembering them. It is a legacy that should always inspire those who step forward to shepherd the flock of Christ.” The cardinal spoke about Peter’s insight into who Christ is, and how that knowledge did not stop him from going astray and trying to dissuade Jesus from traveling to Jerusalem, where he would be crucified, because while he knew Jesus was the son of God, he did not understands that Jesus was the suffering servant. “You have also learned that the life of a priest is about more than learning about Jesus,” Cardinal Cupich told the men about to be ordained. “At its core, priesthood is always about getting to know Jesus more and more. This is why your closeness to him in your prayer life and through service to the poor and suffering must always be given priority in your daily routine.” He urged the new priests to allow themselves to be guided by God’s grace. “Always measure your fidelity and authenticity to your mission not by your personal accomplishments or achievements, but by how the transformative power of God’s grace is first of all leading you to know Jesus more fully,” Cardinal Cupich said. “But also be patient to let God’s grace progressively form and mature you as the years unfold to be a leader in the community whose first task is always to discern where the risen Lord, active and present in your midst, is leading those you serve.” The rites of ordination were slightly modified to minimize risk. Cardinal Cupich sanitized his hands before and after touching the hands and head of each man, and the other priests present held their hands above the heads of the ordinandi rather than touching them. The cardinal anointed the new priests’ hands with chrism oil that was already on individual cotton balls rather than in a common container, and the “kiss of peace” was accomplished with a short bow in lieu of physical contact. Cardinal Cupich advised the new priests to reflect on their legacy of Sts. Peter and Paul as they move forward. “Just as these are challenging and different times, so will the years of your priesthood be,” he told them. “You have no idea what is in store for you as the years unfold. You will need this legacy as a still point and as point of reference to inspire you and to mature you in your vocation. … May the legacy of Peter and Paul be yours today and always.” Watch the ordination Mass here.