“A culture that encourages a person to go it alone or to ‘do it my way’ is a contradiction of the priesthood — indeed, a contradiction of the Church’s very nature,” he said as he prepared to ordain Glen Jerzy Dmytryszyn of Wethersfield, Eduar Gutiérrez Tovar of Colombia and Eric Manuel Zuniga of New Britain.
“We’re very proud,” said Paty Zuniga, a cousin of Father Zuniga, a New Jersey native and son of Mexican immigrants. “We’re very happy. Last year, we were celebrating that he was a deacon, and now he’s a priest. It’s a blessing for our family, so we’re very happy,” she said.
Manuel Zuniga, Father Zuniga’s father, said, “I’m very happy. I have been waiting for this day to come, and finally the day is here.”
His mother, Graciela Zuniga, said, “We have been patient. It is a blessing from God. We have a son who is now becoming a priest.”
Father Zuniga finished his priestly studies at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.
Rich Slusz, an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at St. Matthew Parish in Forestville, became friends with now-Father Dmytryszyn during the seminarian’s service there as transitional deacon this past year.
“He got to know the parish, and he’s very friendly and outgoing,” Mr. Slusz said. “He did homilies, he assisted at a lot of the Masses, he did a lot of things with people coming into the Church. He was in charge of the RCIA program. We really are going to miss him.”
Father Dmytryszyn’s mother, Camille Dmytryszyn, said, “I am overwhelmed, I really am, with extreme joy. It’s finally here, and it’s gone by fast but yet very slow, but it’s here and it’s just the best day of my life. One of the best days. The first was when he was born.”
Father Dmytryszyn finished his formation at St. John’s Seminary in Boston.
Rubiela Tovar, mother of Father Gutiérrez, said, “We are very proud. It is a blessing from God and the Virgin Mary.”
His father, Guillermo Gutiérrez, said, “We feel very good. It is a blessing from God. We are enjoying the occasion, and we give thanks to God for that.”
He added that the family is grateful for all the people who have worked hard to help their son reach this day.
Father Gutiérrez also completed his theology studies at Mount St. Mary Seminary.
“Brothers and sisters, today is a day of great rejoicing, not only for our archdiocese but the whole Church, as God has heard our prayer and raised up for us shepherds after the heart of Christ to be good priests for his people, to serve them in love, to bring them God’s word in the sacraments,” Archbishop Blair said as Mass began.
In his homily, he said each priest is part of a vast community of presbyters, stretching back to the time of Christ. “A priest, by definition, is a coworker with his bishop, united with him and subject to him,” he said.
But, he added, this union is a two-way relationship. “The young presbyter chooses to entrust himself to the bishop, and the bishop for his part obliges himself to look after those men.”
This fraternal bond is symbolized by the laying on of hands after the elect prostrate themselves and the Litany of the Saints is incanted. First, the ordaining prelate, then each concelebrating priest, lays hands on the heads of the elect.
“This ancient sacramental sign points to the equality of the new priests’ participation with them in the ministry and to the fact that the former cannot act by themselves, but rather they act as members of one presbyterate of the Archdiocese of Hartford,” Archbishop Blair said.
Extended applause erupted from the estimated 800 congregants after the ordination ceremony ended.
“I guess they like you,” the archbishop said. “That’s good.”
He thanked the families and friends and other supporters of the new priests, especially Father Jeffrey A. Gubbiotti, archdiocesan vocations director; the staff of the Vocations Office; the faculties of the seminaries, including Msgr. Andrew R. Baker of Mount St. Mary Seminary and Dominican Father Romanus Cessario of St. John Seminary, who were present; and the communities of the parishes where the men served during formation.
The newly ordained priests were vested with stole and chasuble. Father Dmytryszyn was vested by Father Cessario; Father Gutiérrez by Msgr. Gerard G. Schmitz; and Father Zuniga by Father Thomas J. Walsh.
Archbishop Blair announced that the new priests’ first assignments will be to parishes in transition by the new pastoral plan that takes effect June 29. Father Dmytryszyn was assigned to St. Mary Parish in Branford, which will become the new St. John Bosco Parish and will encompass all Branford parishes: St. Mary, St. Therese and St. Elizabeth.
Father Gutiérrez was assigned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Laurent parishes in Meriden, which will become the new Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish and incorporate Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Holy Angels, St. Joseph, St. Laurent and St. Mary parishes.
Father Zuniga was assigned to St. Louis Parish in West Haven, which will become the new St. John XXIII Parish and include St. Louis, St. Lawrence and St. Paul parishes in West Haven.