A capacity crowd of 2,000 witnessed the ordination of four priestsby Orlando Diocese Bishop John Noonan. The newly minted priests includ a Harvard graduate,a baseball player, a University of Miami student and a priest with a degree in business administration.
The ordination took place Saturday at St. James Cathedral in downtown Orlando before 150 priests and 100 deacons.
The four include transitional deacons Ivan Olmo, Ben Lehnertz, Dominic Buckley, and George Nursey.
Meet the priests:
Father Ivan Olmo was appointed Parochial Vicar to Church of the Resurrection, Lakeland, a parish with 1,700 registered families.
Olmo, a native of New York, was enjoying a lucrative career at a telephone company, working in management positions throughout the country, including a stint in Orlando, when a priest from New Jersey told him that he had a vocation in the priesthood. Olmo said that conversation planted a seed in his heart that continued to blossom.
Olmo, who holds an associate degree in accounting, a bachelor’s degree in business management and an MBA, studied at St. Joseph Catholic College in Standish, Maine, before entering Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., a seminary for men who receive their calling to the priesthood later in life. During this past year, he served as a deacon at Immaculate Conception Parish in Salem, Mass.
“My biggest joy in my ministry is being with the people, and knowing that the Lord is allowing me to be his instrument to share his divine love and mercy with people,” Olmo said.
Father Benjamin Lehnertz was appointed Parochial Vicar to Annunciation Catholic Church, Longwood, a parish with 4,000 registered families.
Lehnertz was playing baseball for Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. when he felt a calling to take his life in a different direction.
During the spring semester of his freshmen year, Lehnertz had the opportunity to travel to Australia where he spent time in prayer discerning the call. Upon his return, he faced a difficult challenge – breaking up with his girlfriend in whom he was deeply in love.
In 2005, he transferred to St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, vowing to give seminary life a chance in helping him discover if God was indeed calling him to the priesthood. Lehnertz continued his studies at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. He was ordained a transitional deacon at the seminary on April 21, 2012. He served his pastoral year at St. Paul Basilica in Daytona Beach. He graduated from Satellite High School in Satellite Beach in 2003 and grew up attending Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Indiatlantic.
“I would say the most rewarding experiences from being a seminarian for the past eight years, have been moments of prayer that are just a total gift from the Lord, and nothing I could ever earn or deserve,” said Lehnertz.
Father Dominic Buckley was appointed Parochial Vicar to Most Precious Blood Catholic Church, Oviedo, a parish with 1,700 registered families.
Buckley remembers first thinking about the priesthood during the celebration of Mass of his First Communion.
“I remember looking up at the altar and just seeing how big it was and the whole sanctuary and I just knew somehow God was present there, and there was a mystery happening in front of me, and I wanted to be part of it,” he said.
Born in Cincinnati, Buckley and his family moved several times before settling in Orlando, where they became members of St. Andrew Catholic Church, Orlando. Buckley graduated from St. Andrew Catholic School in 1999 and Bishop Moore Catholic High School in 2003. While he was a student at the University of Miami, he felt God’s call to priesthood louder and clearer during a moment of silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
“It was only in college that the decision became real that the priesthood may very likely be what I want and what Jesus wants for my life,” said Buckley.
He studied at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami and St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. Ordained a transitional deacon on April 21, 2012, Deacon Buckley served his pastoral year at St. Jude Parish in Boca Raton.
“The greatest joy to my ministry is my relationship with the Lord and how it continues to deepen,” Buckley said, “His love overwhelms me as I go in his name, to love His people and serve them, and to bring them the Gospel and the sacraments.”
Father George Nursey was appointed Parochial Vicar to St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Orlando, a parish with 4,000 registered families.
Nursey had been away from the faith for 15 years when he felt God calling him home. The 10th of 11 children, Deacon Nursey attended St. James Cathedral School. He served as an altar server and was confirmed at St. James Cathedral before drifting from the Church. One evening, while participating in the celebration of Mass, Deacon Nursey, now a grown man, was overcome with a feeling of being home.
He began discerning a vocation to the priesthood while pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Rollins College; but continued his education at Harvard’s Divinity School in Boston, where he earned a master’s degree in theological studies. He then continued to The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., earning his doctorate degree in divinity. It was there that he once again felt God’s calling to the priesthood.
Nursey returned to Florida and entered St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami. He also studied at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, and was ordained a transitional deacon at the seminary on April 21, 2012. Deacon Nursey served his pastoral year at Holy Spirit Parish, Lantana
“My greatest joy in my ministry has been the work that I’ve done with the people in the parishes, to get to know them and to enter into different aspects of their life and get to hear their stories and be with them,” Nursey said