On Saturday, June 4, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento, Erik Amando Pereira was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Jaime Soto. Follows are Bishop Soto's remarks to the newly ordained Fr. Erik Pereira:
Fr. Erik Pereira, during his time in the seminary, spent one summer studying Spanish in the great megalopolis of Mexico City along with a few of his brother seminarians. As was my custom, I traveled down to the teeming capital city to check up on him and the others. During my stay, we went out to tour the sights of the city. We had just finished visiting the majestic colonial Cathedral enthroned on one end of the grand zocalo, the ancient central plaza of Mexico. Crowds of the city’s inhabitants were moving about their business. Cars and trucks surged into the streets surrounding the plaza, whirling around the vortex of the square then spinning out onto their appointed courses. I puzzled about how to nab a cab for our next destination. Erik stepped forward to take command of the situation. I waited to watch him snatch a cab and negotiate the fare. Instead, he was studiously tapping his phone, assuring me that an Uber driver would come. As I protested aloud that the city was too complicated and crowded for Uber, a car slowed down for Erik. He confirmed the match, then waved me into the back seat. We were on our way. All I could say was, “Wow!” In Spanish, of course.
Fr. Erik, you have been on a long journey that has brought you to prostrate yourself before the high altar of this glorious cathedral in the great river capital of Sacramento. You did not always know the course of your journey or the epiphanies that would come. No random algorithm has brought you here. You have devoutly trusted the one who consecrated himself for you so that today you would be consecrated in Truth. The Lord Jesus, with a brother’s love, has embraced you as a companion in the awesome task of consecrating to the Father all those who belong to him.
Understand the nature of your priestly consecration. You have been called from among your brothers and sisters to accompany the Lord Jesus in offering prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who saves us from death. As he was made perfect through sacrifice so will he perfect you. Embrace the sacrifices that you will share with Christ. Together with your brothers in the priesthood of Christ, may you learn obedience to the Word and daily consecrate your life to Truth so that others may be consecrated to the truth and joy of the Lord.
Find a heartfelt harmony with the sacraments that you celebrate so that others may see the fruits of their grace in you. Baptize because you have been washed clean by the Lamb. Forgive sins because you have been forgiven by Christ and with him sacrifice yourself for the remission of sins. Nourish others with the Word that has nourished you. Heal the sick with the same divine wounds of Christ that have healed you. While witnessing marriages give witness of your betrothal to the Church. In offering the Bread of Life, be yourself the bread that is broken for others. Imitate what you celebrate. Become what you have received.
In a world enamored with their hand-held devices, offer your hand and your heart to them so that together with you all may find their way to Christ, the way, the truth and the life.