Diocese Celebrates Local Ordination and Universal Sanctification of Priests

This year, the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests will be celebrated Friday, June 19, just one day before the ordination of six men to the priesthood for the Diocese of St. Augustine.

Occurring annually on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests was established by Pope St. John Paul II in 2002 and encourages priests to reflect upon the importance and dignity of their vocation.

“We give thanks to priests who are continuing to serve the people of God in this challenging time,” said Bishop James Checchio, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations. “Priests are the face of Christ and allow people to encounter Jesus, especially through the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation. On this World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, I encourage my brother priests to contemplate with gratitude the great gift Jesus has given us in our vocation. I ask the faithful to pray for all priests that they may be filled with joy and strength as they continue their important work of shepherding God’s people.”

On Saturday, June 20 at 10 a.m., Bishop Felipe Estévez will ordain the largest group of seminarians in decades to serve in the Diocese of St. Augustine. Although this event is not open to the public, it will be livestreamed on the diocesan YouTube channel and on www.dosafl.com/ordinations.

This year’s ordinands include two doctors, a lawyer, two converts to Catholicism, and only the second African American man to be ordained in the diocese. Read more about the men here.

Bishop Estévez has announced the parish assignments for the men being ordained. Their assignments begin on July 1, 2020.

  • Maurice Culver – St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Orange Park
  • Mason Wiggins – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Palm Coast
  • Anthony Hamaty – Queen of Peace Parish, Gainesville
  • Jared de Leo – St. Anastasia Parish, St. Augustine
  • Clay Ludwig – St. Joseph Parish, Jacksonville
  • Christopher Knight – Holy Family Parish, Jacksonville

“These men are well-prepared to serve in the church today,” said Father Steven Zehler, director of vocations for the diocese. “There is a strength and zeal in their souls to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. That is what we need in this time – a genuine, authentic, and bold witness to Christ.”