My Grandpa who will turn 93 this coming December made a long trip to see my ordination. My Grandpa has always been a faithful Catholic, and he has always been proud of me. One thing he hasn’t had was a priest in his own family. His brother was a priest, but none of his children or grandchildren had followed the Lord’s call to the priest, at least until I responded to the call and was ordained. My Grandpa lives in northwest Ohio in Kalida, a small town where his nursing home is. His health, his lack of mobility, and many other reasons make it extremely difficult for him to travel. However, he was willing to do anything to see his grandson get ordained a priest.
He would receive blessings that would make this trip possible and for it to become a reality. The Nursing home he lives in graciously helped me make the trip by applying for a grant to hire a medical van that would drive him to Baton Rouge for the ordination. My Grandpa lives in Ohio, and it is a 15 hour or longer drive from Ohio to Baton Rouge.
He traveled with ACC Medlink a long distance medical transport company which kept him comfortable and safe the entire drive to Louisiana. I’m grateful to this company for getting my grandpa to my ordination; it wouldn’t be possible without them. He traveled with a nurse and two drivers for that long trip to make it to Baton Rouge for my ordination. We also hired a nurse to stay with him while he was here in Baton Rouge.
I could tell my Grandpa had the time of his life, and I genuinely believe this was one of the greatest weekends of his life. He was incredibly proud of me for what I accomplished, and he looked so happy at all of the events. I heard that he tried to join in on the procession at the end of the ordination, but they had to hold him back. Secondly during my Mass of Thanksgiving Fr. Paul Counce recognized him and mentioned the trip he made. Fr. Paul asked him how old he was, and he responded loudly, “perfect.” I don’t think he heard what Fr. Paul said but his response summed up what the weekend was for him!
The same company that brought him to Louisiana brought him back to Ohio. He made it back safely and is now resting again in Ohio. I’m planning a trip to see him pretty soon, and I will say a Mass at his home parish in Ohio. I know this will too be a great moment for him as he sees his grandson celebrate Mass for him at his home church.
My grandpa’s presence made things so much more enjoyable and special for me. It didn’t change anything about the ordination, but it made the weekend mean so much more for myself and my family.