‘Ready and committed’

Bishop Raica accepts seminarian as candidate for Holy Orders

On Nov. 22, Bishop Raica celebrated Mass with the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Anniston. During the Mass, diocesan seminarian Hunter Limbaugh was admitted as a candidate, which means his intention to pursue Holy Orders is “supported by the necessary qualifications and has achieved sufficient maturity.” (Rites of Ordinations, Appendix II, No. 1) The complete text of the Bishop’s homily follows herein.

Dear friends, thank you, Father McDonald, for hosting this celebration of Candidacy for Hunter Limbaugh. I welcome other priests and seminarians who are here today as well.

For several years now, Hunter, you have been anticipating this next step. I congratulate you on your faith and your perseverance! 

To be accepted as a candidate for Holy Orders means that you are ready and committed to undertake with greater seriousness the remainder of your formation to arrive at that day when the Lord, through the diocesan bishop, calls you to Holy Orders – first as a deacon and then as a priest. 

We are all grateful for your yes to undertake this noble step. Christ has provided us with the command, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His harvest.” Aware of the Lord’s concern and trusting that the Lord provides suitable candidates for this purpose, they say with the Prophet, “Here I am, send me.”

You have already begun your formation. Now cultivate your vocation in greater depth and make your desire known with greater joy by cultivating the virtues, growing through the spirit of prayer in order to win all souls for Christ.

Our readings today and the feast of St. Cecilia highlight the importance of today.

St. Cecilia, herself a virgin, was martyred. We remember her supreme witness to faith today. Through her love for music, she is the patron of musicians and those who love the arts as a way to sing God’s praises to the world. As St. Augustine reminds us in the Office of Readings, do not only sing with our voice but with your actions that show a harmony with God’s Word.

Today, Hunter, I will accept your petition for candidacy thus becoming a candidate for Holy Orders. At the same time, know that your discipleship, which must continue to grow, is marked by the steadfast commitment to the faith and will be even more fruitful when the talents and gifts you possess are utilized to foster the Kingdom of God.

May God bless you. We are praying for the day you will be ordained. May the prayers of Our Lady, St. Paul, and St. John Vianney, as well as the patron of your home parish the Sacred Heart, accompany you in these intensive years of formation. May God bless you all!