Cardinal Cupich ordains nine men to the priesthood

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Cardinal Cupich ordains nine men to the priesthood

Cardinal Cupich ordained eight diocesan priests and one Canon Regular of St. John Cantius on May 15, 2021 at Holy Name Cathedral. The newly ordained priests, ranging in age from 26 to 55, hail from the Archdiocese of Chicago, as well as California, Michigan, Virginia, Colombia, Mexico and Poland. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Ryan Brady, Christopher Landfried, Ritchie Ortiz-Juárez and Leonel Sepulveda stand in front of the sanctuary following the opening procession. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Robert Ryan, 36, from Antioch, kneels before Cardinal Cupich and promises his respect and obedience. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Daniel Villalobos kneels before Cardinal Cupich and promises his respect and obedience. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
The men kneel before the altar. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
During the Litany of Supplication, Cardinal Cupich asks the congregation to pray for the men while they lay prostrate in front of the altar. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich lays his hands on Christopher Landfried. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Marek Smolka, associate pastor and director of liturgy at Holy Name Cathedral, lays his hands on Robert Ryan during the “Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Ordination.” (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Andrew Liaugminas, chaplain and director of Calvert House Catholic Center at the University of Chicago, lays his hands on Andrew Matijevic. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Canon Joshua Caswell, superior general of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, lays his hands on Nathan Ford during the “Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Ordination.” Ford is a member of the Canons Regular. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Bradley Zamora vests newly ordained Father Andrew Matijevic. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich anoints with sacred chrism the hands of newly ordained Father Sebastian Zebrowski. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich presents the paten and chalice to newly ordained Father Ryan Brady. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich shares the Kiss of Peace with the new priests. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich raises the chalice and paten during the Eucharistic prayer. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Newly ordained Father Sebastian Zebrowski gives his first blessing to his family in Poland by livestream before the final blessing. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
The newly ordained offer their first blessing to the cardinal. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Newly ordained Father Robert Ryan leads the final procession. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Members of the family of Father Andrew Matijevic applaud the newly ordained before the final procession. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Newly ordained Father Ryan Brady gives first blessings to his mom, Sharon Brady. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Newly ordained Father Andrew Matijevic shares a light-hearted moment with college seminarians from Mundelein. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Cardinal Cupich ordained nine men (read their bios) to the priesthood at Holy Name Cathedral May 15, welcoming them to a presbyterate that both looks to them with hope and offers them support and encouragement as they begin their lives as priests.

“We want you to know that there is so much of our lives as priests that puts us face to face with the human condition of living with ambiguity, the contingent, conditional, provisional, uncertain, indefinite, tentative, and the changeable of human life,” Cardinal Cupich told them in his homily. “That has been especially so for us who have lived in this era of the Second Vatican Council and the enormous cultural shifts that have taken place over the last half-century. Yet, we have come to learn and trust more deeply that it is in the in-between of life, the unsettled and uncertain that Christ, through the Spirit we received at ordination, reveals himself as the one who remains with us, abides with us.”

Ordained at the Mass were Ryan Patrick Brady; Nathan P. Ford, SJC; Christopher Landfried; Andrew William Matijevich; Ritchie Ortiz-Juárez; Robert S. Ryan; Leonel Sepulveda; Daniel Villalobos; and Sebastian Żebrowski.

Ford is a Canon Regular of St. John Cantius; the others are archdiocesan priests.

While they will not take up their parish assignments until July 1, the new priests were to celebrate their first Masses at parishes around the archdiocese on May 15 and 16.

“There is the happy coincidence that your first Masses will occur on the great feast of ambiguity, the Ascension,” Cardinal Cupich told them. “Jesus is present but also absent, raised up at the right hand of the Father but also more immersed in our human condition than ever through the Holy Spirit. Let this be a point of reference for your priesthood, that Christ from the beginning called you and Christians of all ages to live in the tension between heaven and earth.”

While family and friends were present to support and encourage the ordinandi, their numbers were limited to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, and those in attendance wore masks.

Hand sanitizer was used frequently by the cardinal and the men being ordained, and the cardinal anointed their hands with oil using individual cotton balls.

After Cardinal Cupich laid his hands on the heads of each of the nine men, more than 70 other priests did the same.

At the end of the Mass, Cardinal Cupich joked, “My hope is that this will be the last time, at least in my lifetime, that I have to ordain masked men.”

He then invited the newly ordained priests to briefly remove their masks so that the entire congregation could see their smiles.

The new priests weren’t the only ones delighted. Several members of their families joined a few of the newly ordained in shedding tears of joy.

“There are no words,” said Beth Matijevich, Andrew Matijevich’s mother, wiping tears from her face.

She and her husband, Mike, had just received a first blessing from their son, who started dreaming of becoming a priest in second grade. At 26, he is one of the youngest of the new priests.

“I had no doubt he would do it,” his mother said. “When he sets his mind to something, he accomplishes it.”

Sue Ryan, Robert Ryan’s mother, said her husband used to joke with her son about a vocation poster that hung in the back of their church in Antioch.

“He would say, ‘That’s for you, Rob,’ and we would laugh,” Sue Ryan said.

Ryan went to college in Michigan and moved to Texas to work, before coming back to Illinois and reconnecting to his faith.

“When he started discerning his vocation to the priesthood, I’ve never seen him so happy,” Sue Ryan said. “I’m so glad we were here to see it.”

Her son found a copy of that old vocation poster and framed it and gave it to his parents.

Żebrowski’s family could not travel from Poland to attend the ordination but watched the Mass on livestream. Before giving the final blessing, Cardinal Cupich invited him to address them from the podium in Polish.

Irma Salinas joined fellow parishioners of Good Shepherd, where Ortiz-Juárez did his internship, in attending the ordination Mass to support him, and she received a blessing from him after Mass.

“He’s going to be a good priest,” Salinas said. “He’s very human, and he has a good heart.”



  • priests
  • ordination

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