Father Chris Reising Ordination
The Des Moines Register, June 10, 2006
by Shirley Ragsdale
Diocese Ordains Three Priests
new ones in short supply, it's the first time welcoming that many
For the first time in a decade,
the Des Moines Roman Catholic Diocese ordained three priests together
Bishop Joseph Charron ordained Mark Neal, Joe Pins
and Chris Reising [son of Merle Dean and Carmen PudenzDean and
Carmen Pudenz Reising and 3rd
great grandson of Gerhard and Maria Anna (Nieland) Boes] in a
solemn ceremony at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines. It was
the first time since 1996 - when four were ordained - that the
diocese welcomed so many men entering the priesthood in one year.
Photo Caption: Mark Neal, Chris Reising
and Joe Pins, from left, lie at the alter during their ordination
ceremony Friday at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines. The
last time the Des Moines Roman Catholic Diocese welcomed so
many men to the priesthood was 10 years ago.
It's a temporary spike in vocations, however. One
priest will be ordained next year. None are expected to be ordained
in 2008, according to the Rev. Chris Fontanini, vocations director
for the diocese.
Every pew was filled and some of the worshippers
had to stand for Friday evening's ceremony, which began on time
with the flourishing of horns and organ music.
A 10-minute procession, lead by local members of
the Knights of Columbus in full regalia, preceded the ordination
ritual, which Charron described as "ancient and sacred"
during his homily.
Early in the ceremony, as the heavy perfume of incense
wafted through the cathedral, the three candidates for the priesthood
were called from the pews.
Each candidate was accompanied by a sponsor who
testified that the man with him had been found worthy of the priesthood.
The congregation then lent its assent to ordination by joining
in a thunderous and lengthy applause.
After each candidate knelt before the bishop, swearing
obedience, the bishop put his hands on the head of each candidate.
Then, all the priests in the church followed in a serpentine line,
laying their hands on the heard of each candidate.
The laying of the hands is a symbolic act that can
be traced back to the time of the Apostles, Charron told the congregation,
adding that it also is a ceremony that will go "on forward
to the end of time."
At a time when the number of Catholics is growing,
the number of priests is shrinking. The Des Moines Diocese has
15 men studying for the priesthood, a process that includes earning
a college degree and an additional four years of theology study.
and Pins were considered nontraditional seminarians, studying
for the priesthood later in life after secular careers. Reising
followed his calling after completing high school.
"(The Diocese) is blessed with the largest
ordination class in 10 years," Charron said. "Each of
these men has the skill, talent and desire to serve God by serving
his people. After watching these men go through the discernment
process, I have come to believe they will be strong men of faith
who will be good listeners and teachers."
In Iowa and across the nation, the numbers of men
entering seminary are not keeping up with the numbers leaving
the ministry or retiring, requiring dioceses to close or consolidate
parishes. The child sexual abuse scandal that has rattled the
U.S. Catholic Church since 2002 is believed to have been a short-term
deterrent to young men entering the priesthood.
The shortage of Roman Catholic priests is expected
to continue through 2012, according to the National Conference
of Diocesan vocation Directors.
"I trust that the Holy Spirit will provide
as we need," Fontanini said. "They are out there, but
we have to go after them. We're cooking up a few here and there,
with the help of our priests and the prayers of the people of
God in the pews. We use many marketing tools used in the business
world, special programs as well as hitting the pavement, getting
out to talk to them."
Prior to World War II, in addition to being a path
to the fulfilling spiritual life, the priesthood was a path to
education and prestige in the community some men might not have
been able to enjoy otherwise. Young people today have many choices
and opportunities when choosing education and occupations, Fontanini
said. Popular culture and parents' concerns for their child's
happiness may get in the way of committing to the priesthood today.
"A lot of things can lure them down a lot of
different paths. However, according to Father Stephen Rossetti,
who wrote 'The Joy of Priesthood,' 90.5 percent of priests polled
said they were very happy, and 80.5 percent said that five the
chance, they'd do it all over again," Fontanini said. "And
his study was post-scandal."
The three new priests said they expected to find
fulfillment in their new roles.
Neal and Pins attended college, graduated and worked
in secular jobs before answering God's call.
"It's a gift to be able to know what people
are up against each day," Neal said.
Pins credits the prayers of friends and family for
encouraging him to seek the priesthood in order to fill the spiritual
void he felt in his life.
"After a while, people were praying for me,
encouraging me," Pins said. "Eventually, god won over."
Reising pursued the priesthood right away. "I
believe this is where God is calling me to be in life," Reising
It takes a special young man to become a priest,
Fontanini said. The occupation requires sacrifice but it also
has many blessings.
"The priesthood is a privilege and awesome
responsibility," Fontanini said. "The blessings is you
are allowed access into people's lives in ways others may never
Reising's home parish is St. Theresa in Des Moines.
He has seven younger brothers. He was home-schooled beginning
in eighth grad and is the only of the three men ordained Friday
to pursuer the priesthood right after completing high school.
During high school he began taking communion to people stuck at
home. In his spare time, he likes to read and take pictures. He
likes art, woodworking and golf
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