Father Matthew Gembrowski ordained to the priesthood
On the chalice Father Matthew Gembrowski received as an ordination gift from his family are the words: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
“Through the crucifix, life changes. You’re offering your life sacrificially for others: that’s the vocation of everybody. Jesus came down to show us how to live, to redeem us and take us to Heaven,” Father Matthew said. “Imitating that is the best thing anyone could do. Your whole life changes if you live from that mentality.”
From that mentality, cultivated through years of prayer, Father Matthew heard God’s call to the priesthood as a teenager and he was ordained on Friday, May 12 at just 25 years old.
A 2015 graduate of Nouvel Catholic Central High School in Saginaw, Father Matthew studied philosophy at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, before completing major seminary with a Master of Divinity and baccalaureate in sacred theology from Mundelein Seminary in Illinois.
Bishop Robert Gruss celebrated the Mass with the Rite of Ordination at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw, which includes the laying on of hands and the Prayer of Ordination.
During the ordination Mass, Father Matthew vowed to "discharge the office of priesthood with humility and love, hold fast to the mystery of faith, proclaim this faith in word and deed, embrace the celibate state and pray for the Church and the whole world." The rite also includes a promise of obedience to the bishop and his successors.
The liturgical rite is also rich in symbolism. Father Matthew was vested in his priestly garments— a stole and chasuble— by Father Jim Bessert. Bishop Gruss anointed his hands with sacred chrism oil, symbolizing his distinctive participation in Christ's priesthood, and placed bread and wine into Father Matthew’s hands, pointing to his duty of celebrating the Eucharist and following Christ crucified.
"Jesus Christ himself, our great High Priest, has chosen you to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of humankind, this priestly office in the Church,” Bishop Gruss told Father Matthew in his homily, quoting John 15:16. "'It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.’ Your vocation was 'born out of an encounter' with Christ, and you are called to give witness to the resurrection of Jesus before the world."
Father Matthew described the weekend of his ordination as being full of graces.
"The ordination Mass was one of the greatest moments of my life! Jesus, through the ministry of the bishop, conformed my person to himself in a radical and permanent way,” Father Matthew said. “Receiving the chalice and paten from my own family was a blessing, reminding me of where I came from and what I am called to. Concelebrating the Eucharist with Bishop Gruss, I was able to look out over a congregation full of those who have supported me from the time I was a small child. I give thanks to God that I come from the Diocese of Saginaw and that I will serve the Diocese of Saginaw in my priestly ministry".
Father Matthew will begin his first assignment in a familiar community, St. Brigid of Kildare Parish and School, Midland, where he will serve as parochial vicar. He will also be parochial vicar and chaplain of St. Mary University Parish on the Central Michigan University campus in Mount Pleasant.
“We are all very proud of you and looking forward to the amazing things the Lord will do through your ministry,” Bishop Gruss said in his homily. “Every priest is a sign of God’s love, a sign that God is still working in the world, still carrying out his plan of redemption. You have an amazing life ahead of you— so fasten your seat belt and hang on!”