The Weight of Ordination Joy

A reflection on Fr. Michael Koppola’s ordination to the Priesthood. By Fr. Justin Clemente | October 11, 2022

This past Sunday, I had the privilege to be present at the ordination of Michael Koppola. It was honor to be with Mike and his family as he was priested, taking his vows to lead and serve in Christ’s Church. Brooke and I have so enjoyed getting to know Fr. Mike, Angie, and their nine children! We can attest to his godly character and his giftings in teaching and preaching. Indeed, New Creation has already benefited from his ministry! It is my prayer that our parish will grow in greater love and prayerful support of his fledgling church, Christ the Redeemer. In fact, the Vestry just approved making CtR a ministry partner – a small gift will soon be on its way as a token of our support and commitment.

You know, this was the first Ordination Service I’ve attended since my own in June of 2016. For me, it was a wonderful time of renewal in the sober and hard work of being a Priest. I came away thinking this: the Priesthood is a weighty joy. It is a cross, but the joy of the Savior we proclaim is greater. As Mike was vested with his stole (given by Angie), Bishop John spoke these words over him: “Take the yoke of the Lord, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.” Even (especially) Priests need to remember that they are not called to carry an impossible load in a sort of false martyrdom. They too are sinners carried by the Savior.

But our calling does carry great weight. Consider the Exhortation given to Fr. Mike by Bishop:

Remember how great is this treasure committed to your charge. They are the sheep of Christ for whom he shed his blood. The Church and Congregation whom you will serve is his bride, his body. If the Church, or any of her members, is hurt or hindered by your negligence, you must know both the gravity of your fault, and the grievous judgment that will result.

Therefore, consider the purpose of your ministry to the children of God. Work diligently, with your whole heart, to bring those in your care into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of God, and to maturity in Christ, that there may be among you neither error in religion nor immorality in life. Finally, equip and lead your Congregation to proclaim tirelessly the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

– The Form and Manner of Ordaining a Priest, 2019 BCP

Pray for our brother Mike in the endeavor God has given him. And pray for me. We want to be faithful presbyters, ministering Christ alone to God’s sheep. Glory to God!