by Deirdre C. Mays
CHARLESTON — A new priest has entered the flock and will begin a lifetime of celebrating the sacraments. Lee Selzer was ordained to the priesthood of the Diocese of Charleston June 8 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
Selzer promised his obedience to the church in front of family, friends and well-wishers on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Bishop Robert J. Baker, who called upon the Blessed Mother to be his guide and model, ordained him.
The bishop thanked Cathy and Bob Selzer for handing over their son to the church. “This is a very important time in history and a very difficult time in history, I commend you,” he said.
Bishop Baker referred to the previous feast day, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to illustrate that the priesthood is a ministry flowing from the sacred heart of Jesus.
“The heart of Jesus that gave rise to the sacraments gave rise to two special sacraments that you as a priest alone can celebrate, the great sacraments of divine mercy, the holy Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation,” he said.
During the ceremony, the prelate said that Selzer would be a minister of mercy to thousands of people who come to draw strength, encouragement, sustenance, forgiveness, and hope from the sacred heart of Jesus who touches their lives in these sacraments of mercy.
He advised the candidate to celebrate the sacraments with great love and devotion and receive them as one languishing for God’s love and mercy.
“Never omit a day without celebrating holy Mass and never stay too long away from the sacrament of God’s mercy and forgiveness, the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” he said. “Receive God’s mercy and love, and you will be better disposed to share that mercy and love meaningfully and prayerfully in these two great sacraments.
“May God’s love and mercy be symbolized in the sacred heart of Jesus, be reflected in your priestly ministry in a variety of ways,” Bishop Baker said. “But especially through your celebration of holy Mass and of the sacrament of Reconciliation, and may the immaculate heart of Mary help your love to reflect the love of her son, Jesus.”
Retired Bishop David B. Thompson and priests from the diocese concelebrated the liturgy.
Selzer was vested by Msgr. Joseph Roth after which Father Selzer thanked his family and the congregation for their support.
“A priest can’t be a priest without other people; without your prayers it wouldn’t be possible,” he said.
In thanking the seminary provost, Father Thomas Baima, for attending, Bishop Baker reminded the congregation that seminarians need prayers.
“These are tough times for us,” the bishop said. “The fruit of vocations come from great families.”
At the reception, Selzer described his transition into the priesthood.
“It was an emptying feeling because I was giving up everything, but then during the eucharistic prayer I could feel the Holy Spirit. I was empty because I was giving up my own desires, ego, and objectives, and accepting the call of God working through me,” he said.
Selzer celebrated his first Mass at St. Mary of the Annunciation June 9.