On Saturday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend celebrated the ordination of seven new priests. This was the largest ordination class the diocese has seen in almost sixty years.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades made opening remarks in three different languages as two of the seven to be ordained, Reverend Paolo Degasperi and Reverend Augustine Onuoha, are from Italy and Nigeria.
Dozens of priests from northeast Indiana, visitors, and family members gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne to witness the soon-to-be priests make four promises, to live lives of prayer, simplicity, chastity, and obedience. Bishop Rhoades asked each of the seven men, “do you promise respect and obedience to me and my successors?”
The mention of successors is key as the last year seven priests were ordained in the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese was 1962. Men of the class of 1963 were ordained in December of ‘62 because of scheduling around the Second Vatican Council, announced and begun in Rome that same year. Reverend David Carkenord, who is one of the surviving members of the ‘62 class, delayed retirement until 2018 and served under four different bishops. He was thrilled to see 2021’s group of seven. “Ever since our ordination, I’ve looked forward to a time where there’d be as many,” Carkenord said, reflecting on a day he remembers well. “I can remember the ceremony very vividly, scared to death going through it because of what it meant, and hoping for the best.”
Four of the seven priests have been assigned to churches in Fort Wayne. Reverend Michael Ammer will head to St. Jude on Pemberton Drive. Reverend Degasperi was assigned to St. John the Baptist on Fairfield Avenue. Reverend Dan Koehl will head to St. Charles Borromeo on Trier Road and Reverend Keeton Lockwood will have assignments at two churches, St. Therese and St. Henry on Fort Wayne’s south side.
Reverend Benjamin Landrigan will head to St. Vincent de Paul in Elkhart. Reverend Onuoha has been assigned to St. Pius X in Granger and Reverend Logan Parrish will head to St. John the Evangelist in Goshen. All of their assignments become effective June 21.