When Sarah Friedman began her undergraduate years at the University of Maryland in College Park, a familiar face from her home parish, St. John the Evangelist in Hydes, helped ease the transition.
“He welcomed me at the Catholic Student Center,” she said of Father Kevin Ewing, who was ordained to the priesthood June 24 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland. “He brings the love and joy of Christ wherever he goes.”
Friedman had traveled from her current home in the Richmond, Va., area with her husband, Dane Friedman, a fellow College Park graduate also involved with the Catholic Student Center, to witness Father Ewing’s ordination.
Dane Friedman mentioned his old friend’s sense of fun – “He knows how to tell a very good joke and can take a very good joke,” he said – as well as adventure, evidenced by at least one 2:30 a.m. road trip to Philadelphia for cheesesteaks.
Father Ewing exhibited a demeanor of peace and joy as he processed down the center aisle of the cathedral toward what promises to be his greatest adventure, a lifetime as a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
In his homily, Archbishop William E. Lori acknowledged Father Ewing’s ordination as “the happy conclusion that from the first moment of your existence God has called you to be his follower, to be a member of his holy people, and to be a priest.”
“Yet, when you think of the varied demands of the priesthood and the challenging pastoral situations you will face day after day and year upon year, you are right to wonder if the Lord has not entrusted you with a mission impossible,” the archbishop continued.
The key to completing that mission, Archbishop Lori said, is revealed in the actions of Elizabeth, mother of St. John the Baptist, who welcomed the Blessed Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus in her womb at the front door of her home.
“If you would daily embrace your priestly vocation and mission, Kevin, then you, like Elizabeth, must allow the church – whose model is Mary – to bring Jesus to your doorstep, to the entry way of your heart,” the archbishop said.
Father Ewing’s ordination Mass fell on the solemnity of the nativity of St. John the Baptist. Archbishop Lori was the main celebrant and was assisted by Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Baltimore, and Bishops Adam J. Parker and Mark E. Brennan, auxiliary bishops of Baltimore, as well as priests, deacons and seminarians of the archdiocese.
Father Ewing promised to faithfully preach the Gospel, celebrate the sacraments, “pray unceasingly,” and conform his life to Christ’s, and, kneeling and placing his hands into Archbishop Lori’s, he promised respect and obedience to the archbishop and his successors.
Father Ewing lay face down before the altar – symbolizing his total dependence on God – as the congregation chanted the Litany of Supplication, calling upon the saints for their prayers and intercession.
Father Ewing rose to a kneeling position, and Archbishop Lori, followed by the other priests present, laid his hands on his head, conferring upon him the Holy Spirit.
Monsignor Richard E. Cramblitt, pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Hydes, vested the newly ordained Father Ewing with the stole and chasuble.
“It’s a blessing on entire family, and it has been a long journey and a wonderful one, but it’s also only the beginning of his journey,” said Maureen Kraeter, Father Ewing’s aunt and godmother, adding that Father Ewing’s “commitment, personality and deep belief” will serve him well as a priest.
“We think he’ll make a great priest because he really cares about people,” said Mark Ewing, Father Ewing’s father. “I feel really wonderful for Kevin and we’re excited.”
Mary Tamplin, a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist in Severna Park, where Father Ewing served both before and after his May 2016 ordination to the diaconate, said his concern for others was clearly evident.
“He gave beautiful homilies and he showed caring for the older parishioners,” she said. “He is one of the friendliest people I know.”
Following the Mass, just before he was whisked off to impart priestly blessings on family and friends, Father Ewing called his ordination “awesome.”
“It is very joyful, and I’m happy to be here,” he said.
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Email Erik Zygmont at ezygmont@CatholicReview.org.