Story and photo by Gregory A. Shemitz
Hundreds of people—most of them Catholics of Korean descent—filled St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre to near capacity on Saturday, June 23, to witness the ordination of Father Leo Song to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Scroll down for a slideshow from the ordination.
Bishop John Barres was the principal celebrant and homilist at the midday Mass. He was joined by Bishop William Murphy, retired bishop of Rockville Centre, Auxiliary Bishop Andrzej Zglejszewski, retired Auxiliary Bishop John Dunne, and about four dozen concelebrating priests.
Father Song, 36, was born in Seoul, South Korea, raised in Bayside, Queens, and educated for the priesthood at seminaries in Washington and Rome.
“Indescribable,” said Father Song when asked after the ordination to express his feelings about becoming a priest. “I can’t put into words all the emotions and thoughts that I have.
“The priesthood of Jesus Christ is an enormous gift and blessing from God.”
Father Song will serve as an associate pastor at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Massapequa.
Members of several Korean Catholic communities in Dioceses of Rockville Centre and Brooklyn attended the ordination to express their love and support for Father Song. Holy Name of Jesus, Woodbury; St. Aloysius, Great Neck; St. Robert Bellarmine, Bayside; St. Paul Chong Ha-Sang, Flushing and Holy Spirit, Brooklyn, were among the parishes represented at the Mass, which was followed by a reception, featuring Korean food, in the Msgr. James Kelly parish center.
Father Song, who celebrated his first Mass on Sunday, June 24, at Holy Name of Jesus Church, is the second native Korean to be ordained for service as a priest in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Two years ago, Father Jiha Lim, also from Seoul, was ordained by Bishop Murphy. Father Lim currently ministers as an associate pastor at St. Mary Parish, Manhasset.
Deacon Leo Song poses for a photo with his parents, Han and Elizabeth Song, and sister Jina Freiberg and her husband Nate prior to the ordination.
Bishops John Barres and William Murphy greet members of Deacon Song's family.
Bishop Barres addresses members of the Song family.
Deacon Song greets seminarians outside St. Agnes Cathedral.
Deacon Song processes into the cathedral.
Bishop Barres uses incense at the beginning of the Mass.
Msgr. Joseph Chapel, Deacon Song's spiritual director at North American College in Rome, presents the deacon for ordination to the priesthood.
Deacon Song expresses his intention to undertake the priestly office.
Deacon Song promises obedience to Bishop Barres and his successors.
Fathers John Wachowicz, left, Christopher Sullivan and Michael Plona pray for Deacon Song.
Bishop Barres lays hands on Deacon Song.
Deacon Song kneels in prayer as a priest prays over him.
Msgr. Richard Bauhoff, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church, Woodbury, lays hands on Deacon Song.
Father Song is vested by Father Tom Y.D. Ju and Sulpician Father Melvin Blanchette, left, as Father Alessandro da Luz assists.
Father Song is overcome with emotion during the Mass.
Bishop Barres uses sacred chrism to anoint Father Song's hands.
Seminarians Matt Browne, William Cassese and Cody Bobick and Father Michael Duffy lead the procession as members of the Song family prepare to present the gifts.
Bishop Barres presents the chalice and paten to Father Song.
Father Song exchanges the sign of peace with Bishop Murphy.
Father Song prays over the gifts with concelebrating bishops and priests.
Father Song recites the Lord's Prayer.
Father Song distributes Communion.
Tears fill Father Song's eyes as he processes from the cathedral.
Father Song is applauded by bishops and other clergy following the Mass.
Father Song imparts a blessing on Bishop Barres.
Father Song imparts a blessing on his parents.
Well-wishers line up to receive a blessing from Father Song.
Women and children are blessed by Father Song.
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