Monday, June 08, 2009

Fr. Droessler's (Jr.) First Mass

Here is the First Mass' Homily preached by Fr. Droessler (Sr.)--one of the best homilies I have ever heard.

First Mass Homily

On behalf of the Droessler family I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Fr. Jerome Karcher and St. Vincent de Paul Parish for your generous support and hospitality given to your seminarian Jeff and now Fr. Jeff on this glorious weekend. Now Fr. Jerome, you don’t have a Mass following this one, correct? Good, sit back and be comfortable.
Dear friends in Christ Jesus, this is indeed a jubilant celebration for the Droessler family and friends, the parish family of St. Vincent de Paul, the Diocese of Orange and the Universal Church, yes for all Saints and Heavenly Hosts as together we celebrate the First Mass of Thanksgiving of Fr. Jeffrey Alan Droessler. Of course what a wonder, a mystery for me his brother and now his brother priest. We are in fact, the first brothers to be ordained for the Diocese of Orange and what’s even more extraordinary, the first twins! Fr. Jeff, have you heard if Bishop Tod is going to give us a special prize or something? No, me either.
Of course, as fraternal twins, as our fraternal twin sisters Patricia and Pamela would agree and Fr. Jerome and his twin sister, from our youngest memories, our identity, our personhood is caught up in the reality of twin-hood. Beginning from the womb we shared, we were together, we had infant wrestling matches. Our poor mother, Leona. Yes, from being dressed alike, entered into least look alike twin contests, to all of the comparing, sharing, and competing of twin brothers.
So, as the older by 21 minutes it is only natural that perhaps Jeff would have followed some in my footsteps. After all, I was baptized by Msgr. McLaughlin, Jeff was baptized as well by Msgr. McLaughlin. I attended St. Polycarp School and graduated from Notre Dame H.S., Jeff as well, attended St. Polycarp School and graduated from Notre Dame H.S. I worked for State Farm Insurance, Jeff worked for State Farm Insurance. I drove a Saab and a VW, Jeff drove a Saab and a VW. I dated a Rose, Jeff dated a Rose. I have put on a lot of weight and now have a glorious orb (pat) of celibacy and...I win!
Good clean fun aside, I exclude the obvious comparison of priesthood, as for all priests, our calling, our mission is unique. From 2 Tim 1:6-9: “I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands...the power of God...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
Fr. Jeff, from all eternity the Eternal Father has chosen, has called to you with the grace of priestly ordination as your own identity; a holy calling not of your own merit, but for His Glory by your sacramental sharing in the work of the Redeemer, the One Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ.
Yes, every ordained priest is unique: a unique identity, a unique calling, possessing unique gifts and mission, yet all of us share in the holiest of brotherhoods, to participate mysteriously in the One Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Chiefly, by our offering of the Holy Mass, as stewards of the Sacramental life, as bearers of the Good News, and in infinite daily encounters with the People of God as ministers of Jesus’ Priestly Heart that is inflamed with His Divine Charity.
It is equally true for all children of God, we begin to truly know our identity, the why and the who of one’s self, when we too receive in faith our mission from God. Each of us is uniquely created and uniquely called into the eternal embrace of the Triune God who is Love; and our identity unfolds through this sacred revelation of our own unique participation in His Work of Love, the Mission of the Redeemer.
I remember on the Sunday morning following my priestly ordination, my very first thought was: I am a priest! What a mysterious gift of grace! Fr. Jeff, you too have received a wondrous new identity. From St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews: You are priest forever! Each morning as you arise and give your morning offering to the Lord, may you in joy, return to give thanks to Jesus for the gift of your priesthood and that it may always be given lovingly, solely, for His service and glory.
Yes, each priest through the passing of years and the celebrating of many, many morning Masses, even the 6:30 ones, finds his identity intrinsically caught up in the morning offering of the Holy Eucharist, Jesus the Lord of Heaven and Earth, really, truly present under the most humble-hidden appearance of bread and wine. Fr. Jeff as you celebrate the first of we pray many, many Holy Masses, I would like to share with you and my brother priests these words taken from a work entitled From the Heart of the Eternal High Priest :
“My priest sons, know that as I lovingly surrendered My Spirit to the Father (at Calvary), so I in great trust and vulnerable Love, surrender My Body, My Blood, My Soul, and My very Divinity into your consecrated hands. Safeguard My Eucharistic Gift. Hold as precious, beyond all treasure, the Body of Christ now surrendered into your embrace! Do not allow the familiarity of the morning Sacrifice dull your keen awareness of these Sacred Mysteries. Know whom it is you hold aloft! Believe! As you receive the surrendered Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your Master, so you too are to imitate His surrender to the Father. From this Altar of Sacrifice, surrender your all to the Loving embrace of the Father. Know the joy of the Christ who surrendered His Spirit from His Altar of Sacrifice at Calvary.
And now, it is finished. The Kingdom of the Divine Will is established. My priest sons of My Priestly Heart, all that I have shared with you from My Priestly Heart is to bring you to the Kingdom of the Divine Will, to be configured to Christ the Eternal High Priest as an alter-Christus. Spread far and wide the Kingdom of the Father through the inestimable gift of your priesthood. My Love for you My priest sons has brought us here to Calvary, where now It is finished. And behold in your priesthood, the Kingdom of the Divine Will continues. Live from My Priestly Heart! Live in accord with the dignity of your noble calling as a Priest of the New and Eternal Covenant. Joyfully live this life of blessed priesthood for the Love of the Blessed Trinity and for the love of beautiful souls, till the day of your own loving surrender, when you may say to your Master with every confident assurance: It is finished!
Imitate Me, My sons. Let your entire being ache as My own for souls! Let this hunger, this thirst compel you to not count the cost of your Priesthood. See in your every self-offering of your priesthood as gain for the Kingdom of the Redeemed! Give them a shepherd’s care. My priest sons, live in My Love. My priest sons be My Love.” (pause)
Yes, Fr. Jeff from the Love of the Most Holy Trinity you will receive into your freshly anointed, consecrated hands the Lord of Heaven and Earth in the Holy Eucharist. Yes, from the Love of the Most Holy Trinity you have received the gift of Holy Priesthood. A gift that you are now to share with your Bride, the Church, for with your ordination promises, you have been espoused to Her in the promise of a heavenly fecundity of a chaste celibacy, in the freedom of holy obedience, and the joy of lady poverty.
And how beautiful that this gift of your priesthood, a gift of the Holy Trinity, we celebrate today on this the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. We celebrate today the central mystery of the Revelation of the Christian Faith - God who is One in Three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Fr. Jeff, each Person of the Holy Trinity is present and at work in your holy priesthood.
From all eternity the Eternal Father has known you Fr. Jeff and loved you into being through the love of our parents Wilfred and Leona. He looked upon your face and willed that you might intimately resemble the Holy Priestly Face of His only Begotten Son. From before He knitted you in our mother’s womb, He consecrated you in service to His People and to be His priestly Son. In the Eternal Father you are truly Papa’s boy! (That’s a family reference.)
Jesus’ invitation to the first ordained priests, the twelve Apostles was also an invitation of intimate friendship. Jesus’ call is the same for you, Fr. Jeff. He desires that your heart be given more and more in loving and trusting friendship. For what He has given, He now asks of you. In loving trust you are to imitate Jesus, Priest and Victim, by offering all of your life for love of the Eternal Father, for love of the Church. And as you encounter the intimate, pressing weight of the Cross of the Priesthood, keep your gaze always upon the Lamb of God, Our Good Champion - Our Good Savior! Know that as Jesus was espoused to the Church on the Cross, so too a holy priesthood truly lived in espousal to the Church, must too be by way of the Cross.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit engenders within the priest by sacramental grace, gifts and charisms, a transfiguration truly into the Person of the One Eternal High Priest, Jesus the Christ. The Holy Spirit will take the humble, all too human efforts of a priest and transform them as sweetest fragrant priestly offerings on behalf of the People of God. Truly, how efficacious, how fruitful the priestly life of a priest that truly knows, lives and is prompted always by the Most welcomed of Guests, the Holy Spirit. And for the priest who has a true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as does Fr. Jeff, the Holy Spirit is irresistibly drawn and finds a most welcome home. The Dove of the Holy Spirit coos to His beloved Virgin Mary found in the consecrated hearts of her priest sons.
Finally, on a personal note, I want to thank with all of my heart, Fr. Jeff for the courage and fidelity to God’s call. It has been a long road, but all in the Lord’s timing. Providentially at a time when the priesthood has suffered through so much adversity by a Enemy that wants to destroy the priesthood, your witness and your promise of service, fill us all with hope in the Person of Jesus and His continuing presence with us through His ordained Priests. I have great hope for you and your priesthood. You have given up much to be a priest, but now you have gained everything as a priest forever! You have been graced with an unfailing fidelity and love for the Bride. You are faithful to prayer before the Holy Eucharist and mindful always of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. You love the Lord and you love His Blessed Mother. All is in place after your seminary formation for a truly beautiful and anointed priestly life. And what a blessing that your ordination coincides with the commencement this June 19th of a Holy Year of the Priest. Our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, under the patronage of St. John Vianney - patron of priests, has given this as a holy year to encourage priests and to clarify the importance of the priest’s role and mission in the Church and in the World.
Friends, please, please pray for Fr. Jeff; pray and sacrifice for all priests that we may be encouraged whether we are one day ordained or more than fifty years ordained - that each day may be a holy offering of our lives for the Church. That with the Psalmist our priesthood may proclaim: I will accept the cup of salvation and call upon the Name of the Lord.
Together, Fr. Jeffrey and Fr. Joseph, want to thank our family, especially our father Wilfred present with us this day and Leona in Heaven for their gift of love and faith. Our dad always says how blessed he is to now have two priest sons (ever mindful of the gift of all his children) and that it is all because of their mother. (The gist being she is a very saintly woman formed in holiness in large part being married to Wilfred as Ruth, my dad’s wife might attest.)
But dad we are here to set the record straight. You have always been a man of great faith, of loving devotion to Church and family. How many times as a boy did I peer into your bedroom to see you kneeling bedside, praying the Holy Rosary. You worked so hard to give us a good home and a Catholic education. You always faithfully attended Sunday Mass and during your later years I was blessed to have you attend many of my daily Masses. It is Fr. Jeff’s turn now. You have been and always will be an inspiration for our priesthood for you have taught us first of the love of the Eternal Father.
Fr. Jeff, I know our mother Leona is here present with us at this glorious wedding feast of the Lamb. As our family knows that after her death, I found hidden amongst her personal things, a devotional etchings of a young priest celebrating His First Mass. Perhaps it was her way of letting us both know that she would be present with us at our first Mass and all of our Masses. We might pause and wonder what prophetic knowledge did she possess? What secret whispers did she voice to her twin priest sons carried in her womb? Now and for all eternity, Leona may indeed echo the words of Mary: Blessed am I among woman!
Fr. Jeff, I would like to present to you the image of the priest’s first Mass from Leona and from your family - your daily Mass chalice. We are all very proud of our priest brother whom we love very much!

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