By Fr. Brian Humphrey
Rufino, a sacristan at my home parish, told me just days before the ordination, “Let the people love you.” Similarly, Fr. Albert van der Woerd shared with me the image of landing a plane to describe what I might expect during ordination weekend. He said, “All of God’s grace and the people’s love are like the lights that will guide your way. Just follow them and you will be okay and land the plane safely.” These two bits of advice were absolutely spot on. God’s people in Los Angeles love their priests! They see in us a representative of Jesus Christ. This reality brings me to tears. Words cannot describe the honor it is to be able to say the words, “This is my Body, given up for you.” My first Mass was a whirlwind. I tried to chant the Collect [opening prayer], but was pretty nervous and messed up the melody. Again, the smiles from the people and support from the concelebrating priests, one of which was my uncle (Fr. Charlie Diedrick), were like lights that helped me land the plane. At the end of Mass, I presented the stole I used to hear my first confession to my father, and the manutergium (cloth used at ordination to wrap the new priest's hands in Chrism oil) to my mother. Again, tears. There was overwhelming support coming from every direction, all weekend long, especially from my family and home parish, St. Francis of Assisi. Rufino and Fr. Albert were right, God worked through his people to help bring me home to the priesthood. Thank you!