Fr. Michael Eguino, SDB, was ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 27, by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, at his home parish of St. Benedict in the Bronx.
Fr. Mike, 30, graduated from Salesian High School in New Rochelle in 2002 and from Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., in 2008 (B.A. in philosophy). He studied theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary, affiliated with Seton Hall.
For the last four years Fr. Mike has been a member of the Salesian formation community in Orange, N.J. He served as a deacon for the last year at Holy Rosary Church in Port Chester, N.Y., and his first priestly assignment is to newly-combined Corpus Christi-Holy Rosary Parish in Port Chester.
In August Fr. Mike will take up priestly ministry and teaching at Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero, La., and the nearby parishes served by the Salesian community.
Fr. Mike entered the Salesian formation program shortly after his high school graduation and made his novitiate in New York City in 2005-2006. He professed temporary vows on August 16, 2006, and made his perpetual profession on August 18, 2012. He was ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 24 of last year.
Fr. Mike has teaching experience at Salesian High School (2008-2010) in the fields of world history and theology. He also served on the retreat team at Don Bosco Retreat Center in Haverstraw-Stony Point, N.Y., in 2010-2011. Other apostolic ministry included work in the youth center at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Orange.
Some 50 Salesian, diocesan, and religious priests concelebrated the ordination Mass with Cardinal Dolan and Fr. Mike. Three former pastors, all of whom helped foster Fr. Mike’s vocation, were among those taking part.
Pastor Fr. Stephen Norton and the assistant clergy warmly welcomed all the visiting clergy and other guests. The parish choir sang the Mass, under the direction of Anne Myers. The large parish church was nearly full with Salesians, members of the Eguino family, St. Benedict parishioners, Sisters of St. John the Baptist, Salesian Sisters, and representatives from several of the places where Fr. Mike has served during his years as a Salesian.
Cardinal Dolan’s homily began with an unusual statement: that he and Fr. Thomas Dunne, SDB, the provincial, had just lied to everyone. They had testified that Deacon Michael Eguino was worthy of ordination as a priest. And, said the cardinal, we all—including Michael—know that he is not worthy. No one is.
The cardinal observed that a few minutes earlier Michael had lain prostrate on the floor while the congregation prayed the Litany of the Saints over him—a testimony of his unworthiness and helplessness. The priesthood, Cardinal Dolan said, is not a prize to be won, a career to be pursued, a degree to be earned, but a pure gift from God to someone who admits his unworthiness. It’s all God’s grace, mercy, and initiative.
Ordination, the cardinal continued, is all about Jesus and his Church. Jesus continues to summon unworthy, sinful, and clumsy men to the vocation of sharing God’s grace and mercy with the Church.
At one point, the cardinal asked Deacon Michael whether he was afraid. “No,” he answered. “But I’m nervous.”
Cardinal Dolan followed up: it’s OK to be nervous. But Jesus tells us often not to be afraid. God takes care of us. This trust in Divine Providence, in fact, is a part of the Salesian charism passed on by Don Bosco, the cardinal said.
|Cardinal Dolan, Fr. Mike, and Fr. Mike's parents enjoyed a few moments when Mom and Dad |
brought up the chalice and paten to be presented to the new priest as part of the ritual.
On an earlier occasion, Cardinal Dolan had admired the Good Shepherd cross that is given to Salesians when they pronounce their perpetual vows. At the end of Mass, as a token of appreciation for the cardinal’s love for Don Bosco and the Salesians, Fr. Dunne presented him with a larger version of that cross, to the cardinal’s extreme delight. He immediately removed his pectoral cross and put on the Salesian cross.
|At the parish's reception after Mass, Fr. Mike offered his first priestly blessings to all comers|
--starting of course with Mom and Dad.