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 | Teresa Peterson

Five Moments of Applause During Priesthood Ordination

May 22, 2023 |  The priesthood ordination of Father Christian Galvan on May 20, 2023, was a solemn liturgy by all accounts. Two of the most notable examples were when Bishop Gregory Parkes placed his hands over Father Christian and called upon the Holy Spirit to mark his soul with the sacred priesthood, and when Father Christian laid on the floor in front of the altar, face down, in an act of pure humility, while the faithful prayed for the Lord's assistance and for the intercession of all holy men and women of heaven.

But there were also times when the crowd got loud. Here are five moments when the congregation of close to 800 people who attended the ordination of Father Galvan at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle spontaneously cheered and clapped in pure joy and celebration. (Photos for each moment are shown below.)

1.      Right after Bishop Parkes announced, “We choose our brother Christian for the order of priesthood,” Mass participants were exuberant. Upon hearing this, the congregation erupted in applause. This statement indicated that Father Christian had properly prepared, had been sufficiently vetted and all systems were “go,” for the ordination to happen. Right after the bishop spoke these words, Father Christian turned to the congregation and his eyes started to water as the people showed their love and appreciation though robust applause.

2.      Right after Bishop Parkes offered Father Christian the Sign of Peace in a warm embrace was another time when applause could be heard. This followed the moment Bishop Parkes presented Father Christian with his Chalice, the sacred vessel he will hold for the celebration of the Eucharist. The Mass participants were moved by both gestures and the sound of applause again filled the church.

3.      After all the priests had offered Father Christian the Sign of Peace, Father Chuck Dornquast, diocesan Director of Vocations, walked him back behind the altar to take his place among all the priests of the Diocese, in an area of the sanctuary called the presbytery. Father Christian sat next to Monsignor John Cippel, a mentor and friend, who had once served at the St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary as professor and spiritual director.  The priests started this applause and the congregation followed.

4.      Right before Bishop Parkes gave a final blessing to the congregation, he stepped away from his cathedra (the large chair reserved for the diocesan bishop, with his Coat of Arms) to stand in front of the newly ordained Father Christian to receive a blessing from him. This would be Father Christian’s first blessing of the day, but many more would follow.  After this wonderful exchange, the congregation again offered applause as a sign of affection and joy.

5.      At the end of Mass, as newly ordained Father Christian processed down the aisle and out of the Cathedral, the congregation again clapped enthusiastically to show their support and love for his vocation, knowing that this man who God had called for the sacred order of priesthood would now provide the Sacraments of salvation, mercy, and healing in dedication to God and His people.


Father Christian Galvan faces the congregation after the bishop announced he had been "chosen." Photo by Keishla Espinal
Bishop Parkes offers a sign of peace to Father Christian Galvan at the Ordination Mass. Photo by Keishla Espinal.
Father Chuck Dornquast, Director of Vocations, walks newly-ordained Father Christian Galvan to join other priests from around the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Photo by Keishla Espinal
Father Christian Galvan gives his first blessing as a newly ordained priest to Bishop Parkes. Photo by Katie Camario.
Father Christian Galvan sings as he processes out of the Cathedral at the end of the Ordination Mass. Photo by Keishla Espinal.