Oratorian Father Guzman begins his priestly ministry

ROCK HILL—Oratorian Father Agustin Guzman honored his order’s patron saint, St. Philip Neri, on two of the most important days of his life — his ordinations.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone ordained him to the priesthood at St. Anne Church on May 26, the feast day of the 16th century Italian saint who founded the Oratory. He was ordained to the transitional diaconate on the same day in 2010.

Bishop Guglielmone encouraged Father Guzman to approach his new life with wisdom, love, joy and the commitment to spread the Gospel to all people.

“We as priests must meet people where they are and invite them into a deeper intimacy with Christ, into a peace that only God can bring,” he said. “We must stay connected to the Gospel, to the source, because cut off from the source, we can do nothing.”

He urged Father Guzman to follow the example of St. Philip Neri, “a person of great joy who drew people to him.”

“Carry out the ministry of the priesthood with constant joy and genuine love, and strive to bring the faithful together so you may lead them to God the Father,” he said.

Bishop Guglielmone thanked the priests of the Oratory and parishioners of York County for supporting the new priest.

“The diocese is grateful to you for making this part of the vineyard of the Lord strong and faithful,” he said.

Father Guzman is a native of Lancaster, Calif., and a graduate of St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, Texas.

Mark and Teresa Brinkman met the priest while he was at seminary. They said he brings warmth and understanding to his ministry.

“He is known for his hospitality, and he’s always on the lookout to make other people feel welcome,” Mrs. Brinkman said. “That will probably be the hallmark of his priesthood.”

“Over the years, we’ve seen how the teacher in him comes out when he is with a group of people. He has that desire to reach out and help people get close to the Lord,” Mr. Brinkman said.

Father Guzman celebrated Masses of Thanksgiving at the Oratory and All Saints Mission in Lake Wylie, and will celebrate others at St. Anne and Divine Saviour Church in York in coming weeks. He is looking forward to a Mass for his father on Father’s Day weekend.

Father Guzman said his ordination was the fulfillment of a long period of work and study.

“I feel like this is what God intended for me, and if it’s God’s will, therefore it’s my will,” he said.

The new priest will serve as administrator of St. Mary Church in Rock Hill beginning July 1.