On Saturday, June 8 at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, Archbishop William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, will ordain two new Catholic priests for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Deacon Hamilton Okeke, 33, and Deacon Angel Marrero, 46, will be ordained to the priesthood following the completion of their studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Roland Park.
A native of Nigeria, Deacon Okeke was raised in his native country’s Igbo community and was encouraged to study for the priesthood after meeting Fr. Sylvester Peterka, C.M., former pastor of Immaculate Conception and St. Cecilia Parishes in Baltimore. Deacon Okeke has served at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Middle River and St. Ignatius in Hickory.
Deacon Marerro served in the Puerto Rican National Guard in Germany during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 before becoming a Carmelite brother in 1995. He chose to pursue ordination to the Catholic priesthood so that he could become a U.S. military chaplain. He has ministered at St. Michael, Overlea and Church of the Resurrection in Laurel, and at several parishes in the Dundalk area of Baltimore County.
The new priests will join over 150 diocesan priests actively serving in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Approximately 500 men are being ordained to the priesthood in the United States in 2013. Approximately one-third of this year’s new priests were born outside the United States.
The Mass of Ordination is rich in Catholic tradition and very visual: the new candidate for priesthood is presented to the bishop who asks about their intentions and worthiness to be ordained. The ceremony continues with the candidate prostrating himself while the congregation chants the Litany of Saints. Immediately following, the bishop through the ancient sign of ordination confers priesthood by laying hands on the candidate. Each priest present also lays his hands on the candidate. The new priest is then vested in a stole and a chasuble (symbols of the priestly office) followed by the bishop presenting the bread and a chalice filled with wine, which is offered and consecrated at this Ordination Mass, the new priest’s first Mass.
It is requested that members of the media wishing to cover the ordination contact the Director of Communications in advance. Reporters/photographers are asked to dress in appropriate attire. Photographers will be given access via the side aisles of the Cathedral. So as not to obstruct the view of those in attendance, photographers will not be allowed in the center aisle, sanctuary (altar area), or the area in front of the altar.
Media parking is permitted on the side and lower lots (south) of the Cathedral. Media vehicles are not permitted to park on the driveway directly in front of the Cathedral.