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The archdiocese of Toronto ordained three new priests at a ceremony in St. Michael's Cathedral on Saturday May 14

Three men welcomed to the priesthood in Toronto

  • May 16, 2011

TORONTO - In a matter of seconds, with the hands of Archbishop Thomas Collins placed on their heads, three men saw more than five years of preparation and discernment finally come to fruition as they were ordained to the priesthood.

This year’s new priests were welcomed to the archdiocese of Toronto on May 14 at St. Michael’s Cathedral, in front of a congregation of about 1,000.

“The purpose of a priestly witness is to serve,” said Collins, who celebrated the ordination Mass.

The newly ordained priests are Eric Mah, a former lawyer, who was assigned to Blessed Trinity parish in North York; Russell Asch, born in Montreal and raised in England, who will serve at St. Patrick’s parish in Markham; and Allyn Rose, a former accountant, who will be associate pastor at St. Isaac Jogues in Pickering.

“If you ever sense you’re not worthy of the priesthood, you’re correct. None of us are,” said Collins to the ordinandi and a group of young men gathered before the Mass. “Jesus Christ is the only priest.”

The archbishop, as he has done for the past eight years, hosted a group of young men for breakfast before the ordination, where he explained the ceremony’s procedures and the nature of the priesthood.

“Priests, bishops, popes, all of us are interchangeable,” he said. “The priesthood is forever.”

Once at the cathedral, the three men processed to the altar as deacons for the last time. Following the Gospel, the men were ordained and received their garments as well as a Kiss of Peace from each of the clergy members in attendance. The new priests then participated in their first eucharistic preparation.

In his homily, the archbishop emphasized the role of the priest as a witness to Jesus Christ who is called to serve others in their own witnesses to the Lord.

“We may be the only Bible our neighbour reads,” said Collins, who was also celebrating the 14th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop.

Collins also used Pope Benedict XVI as an example of the obedience priests must have and of the sacrifices they must make. Before the death of Pope John Paul II, Benedict had planned on retiring to a quiet home where he could write books. He, however, obeyed the papal call, calling himself “a humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord,” said Collins.

The archbishop asked for the friends, family and the rest of the congregation to pray for the new priests as they began a new stage of their lives.

“This is not a job,” said Collins. “This is a consecration forever.”

Read the Catholic Register's profiles of the three new priests:

Eric Mah:A decade of ignoring his call was wiped out in one Confession
Russell Asch:With patience, Asch finds his calling
Allyn Rose:Misery came in accounting, leading to his joyful call

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