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Archives Father Leagon Carlin ordained to priesthood

June 1, 2022

By Darcy Fargo

OGDENSBURG – “We priests are called again and again as God wills to accompany people for a stretch on the dusty roads of this world,” Bishop Terry R. LaValley told Father Leagon J. Carlin during his ordination to the priesthood. “We remember them, we include them in the intentions we place before God so that their way and ours becomes a way of God, a way to God. The deepest act of our relationship with our people is to bring all of them, all their cares, their pains and their sufferings, all their hopes and their joys into the presence of the living God in our prayers.”

The Ordination Mass was held May 21 at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

In his homily, Bishop LaValley encouraged Father Carlin to share his personal love of Christ with the people of God.

“Your love for God will give you the power, the grace, because you have been chosen by the Lord,” Bishop LaValley said. “St. John Paul II wrote at the end of the millennium that our parishes should be schools for prayer. From the richness of your own personal relationship with Jesus, help your people to pray. No one, no one should be content with a shallow prayer. Through the priest as the leader of prayer and administrator of the sacraments, Jesus enters again and again into the world of our senses in order to touch us where we live and to lead us farther into eternity. You are the bridge.”

Bishop LaValley told Father Carlin to bring the teachings of Jesus and His Church to God’s people.

“Lay people expect priests to tell them – clearly, firmly and with paternal concern – not our opinions but God’s teachings. A priest cannot, must not take advantage of his authority over the people of God to set forth his personal ideas, be it the way he celebrates the Eucharist, the lessons he teaches or the homily he preaches. The mission of a priest is a challenging one: To make all Christians disciples who are willing to die for Christ and his gospel.”

At the ordination Mass, Sister Mary Eamon Lyng, a Sister of St. Joseph and diocesan Vocations coordinator, proclaimed the first reading. Father Carlin’s Godmother, Paula Hayden, proclaimed the second reading, and Deacon Liam O’Shea-Creal proclaimed the Gospel.

Deacon Mark Bennett, Father Carlin’s uncle, presented the candidate, then Deacon Carlin, for the priesthood, and Father Christopher C. Carrara, Vicar for Clergy and director of Vocations and Seminarians, answered inquiries during the election of the candidate for the priesthood.

“Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose our brother for the Order of the Priesthood,” Bishop LaValley said, eliciting applause from those gathered.

In “The Promise of the Elect,” the soon-to-be priest stands before the bishop and expresses his resolve to carry out his office in accord with the mind of Christ and the Church. The candidate then prostrates himself as a sign of humility as those gathered pleas for God’s grace for the candidate in the “Litany of Supplication.”

It was then that Bishop LaValley laid hands on Father Carlin’s head and prayed the words of ordination.

Father Carlin was then vested by Father Bryan Stitt, diocesan director of Worship and former Vocations director. Bishop LaValley then anointed Father Carlin’s hands and presented him a chalice and paten.

Offertory gifts were presented by Father Carlin’s siblings, Sarah Favro and John Carlin. Bishop LaValley and priests of the diocese then offer a kiss of peace to the newly ordained as a welcome to the Order of Priests before moving into the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Father Carlin said the Ordination Mass was “powerful.”

“The whole thing is a powerhouse of emotions and symbolism,” he said. “There were moments throughout the entirety of it when I found myself very overcome with thanksgiving to God for this gift and acknowledging my inadequacy of it. From beginning to end – between the laying of hands starting with bishop and all the priests of the diocese who were able to be there. The anointing of hands was also very powerful. There are a lot of elements of the Ordination Mass that are the similar to ordination for the diaconate. Anointing the hands is particular to the priestly ordination. That was powerful. The kiss of peace – with bishop and all the brother priests – was a beautiful moment. Concelebrating Mass, surreal is the only word that comes to mind. I was in a crowd of priests almost all of whom I’ve known for a very long time. Being the voice for the fourth concelebrant part was powerful.”

Father Carlin celebrated his first Mass May 22 at St. Peter’s Church in Plattsburgh. At that Mass, he presented his mother with the Manutergium – the linen cloth used to wipe the Chrism off his hands after anointing – used in his ordination and his father with the stole he wore celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time.

“It’s an older tradition,” Father Carlin explained. “The mother receives the Manutergium and is buried with it when she dies. There’s a lot of symbolism in the oil of anointing. It’s about the gift of self and loving service. Traditionally, the mother is a model of that. The priest learns as a child how to love, serve and give of himself from mom. There’s a pious legend that the mother is pulled by the Manutergium to heaven… It’s not as old of a tradition, but it’s also traditional to give the father the first stole used in the first confession. A father teaches forgiveness, humility and mercy through his fatherhood, and those are necessary to be a good confessor.”

Both Father Carlin’s father, Deacon James Carlin, and his uncle, Deacon Mark Burnett, served with him during his first Mass.

Since that Mass, Father Carlin has been spending time with his family and traveling to classmates’ ordinations.
“I have a little time before I start my first assignment,” he said. “It’s a beautiful buffer. I’ve been traveling to see friends ordained, and there will be a couple weeks when I have time to work on getting some affairs in order and meeting with Father (Scott R.) Seymour and figuring out the move. We’ve already discussed the parish and the great things going on there. Until that time, I’m spending time with family and friends and sharing with them this new joy that I’ve found in conforming to Jesus.”

Father Carlin will begin his first assignment, parochial vicar for The Roman Catholic Community of St. Alexanders and St. Joseph in Morrisonville, St. Augustine’s Church in Peru and St. James in Cadyville, on June 29.

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