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Archbishop ordains 2 priests June 6

June 19, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone ordained Marin County natives Cameron Faller and Patrick Summerhays as priests of the Archdiocese of San Francisco June 6 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, in a joyous event that included parents, other family members and family and friends, as well as numerous well-wishers.

“This is a very happy day,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “Our hearts are filled with joy and gratitude.”

The newly ordained priests both grew up in Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Novato. Father Faller, 27, attended Marin Catholic High School, and is the third of four brothers. He graduated from Gonzaga University while attending Bishop White Seminary in Spokane for his final two years of college. Father Summerhays, 42, is one of seven siblings, and also attended a local Catholic high school, St. Vincent High School in Petaluma. After graduating from University of San Francisco, he spent 10 years in finance, including at a biotech startup and a wealth management firm, before entering the seminary.

The ordination Mass was remarkable for the number of families with young children in attendance, as well as about 100 priests, the new priests’ siblings and other family, friends, former parishioners and other well-wishers.

“It’s a great feeling. We all went to USF together,” said Father Summerhays’ friend Joe Carroll, now a married father of four who lives in Sacramento. The two spent a junior year abroad at Oxford and both are Knights of Columbus, he said. “It’s great to see a normal, everyday guy become a priest. He’s a really good guy.”

Bonnie Faller’s son discovered his vocation on a trip to Lourdes during college with now Spokane Bishop Thomas Daly who was archdiocesan vocations director and president of Marin Catholic at the time. “We’re very proud of him and glad that he said yes to God,” she said. “This is his calling.”

“I am so proud of them,” Archbishop Cordileone said later, in conversation at the reception. “Please continue to pray for them.”

The road to ordination is one marked by tests, evaluations and exams, the archbishop noted in his homily, beginning with a grilling by the vocations director and others before a seminarian is admitted to the seminary, experience in various pastoral and academic settings, and ending with the series of questions asked during ordination.

“The church takes the formation of priests very seriously,” Archbishop Cordileone said. But for every priest, the most important exam is the final exam – when God asks if a priest has lived his vocation for God and for God’s people, the archbishop said.

The Gospel for the ordination was from the Gospel of St. John (Chapter 21:15-17), after his resurrection, when Christ asks St. Peter three times, “Do you love me more than these?” When St. Peter answers in the affirmative, Jesus instructs him, “Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.”

“Your will not mine. This has been true in every age,” Archbishop Cordileone said, citing Blessed Oscar Romero, beatified May 23. The archbishop martyr of El Salvador was assassinated in 1980 while celebrating Mass, just a day after pleading and ordering soldiers to stop killing innocent civilians. “He was a man of great devotion. He did not live his life in an ivory tower,” but lived according to love, Archbishop Cordileone said. “It was his encounter with the poor that changed him.”

Priests “must be motivated by love,” the archbishop said.

Father Faller will be parochial vicar at Church of the Epiphany and will also be assigned to part-time ministry at Archbishop Riordan High School while Father Summerhays will be the new parochial vicar at St. Cecilia Parish in San Francisco, said vocations director Father David Schunk.

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