I'd never been to Pittsburgh before this past weekend, but you can be sure I'm going to look for an excuse to return.
The occasion was Fr. Brian Noel's ordination to the Sacred Priesthood in the gorgeous Cathedral of St. Paul. The Mass of Ordination was absolutely beautiful -- there were three deacons who were ordained as priests, fine men all of them. I spent some time at the seminary on Friday night, and the seminarians were very warm in their welcome. Bishop David Zubik is most impressive, a real Father in God to his people.
Fr. Noel celebrated his First Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday afternoon. There were several concelebrants, and I had the great privilege of preaching on that occasion. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I had to wipe my eyes a few times as I saw this fine young man who, years ago, had served at our altar and who had later returned to teach at the Academy, now offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. His parents, Bill and Kathy Noel, had the blessing of seeing their son celebrating Mass in the same place where they were married.
I stayed at the Cathedral rectory, and the hospitality I was shown was just wonderful. The Cathedral Rector, Fr. Donald Breier, has been Brian's pastor for the past several years. He and I shared justified pride in our spiritual son, now a priest in Christ's Holy Catholic Church.