Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

A Sweet Surprise At The Ordination

Published June 5, 2012

The June 2 ordination was nearly over when out from the sacristy came newly ordained priests Father Tri Nguyen and Father Mark Starr, each holding a vase with a gold satin bow of mondial white roses. They walked off the altar and presented the flowers to their mothers. It was a touching moment and a real surprise for the moms, and it brought a rousing round of applause from the congregation.

Such a presentation is not a normal part of the ordination program. The Cathedral of Christ the King Flower Guild, under the leadership of Linda Seitz and Jane Murray, approached pastor Father Frank McNamee with the idea of presenting the mothers with a vase of flowers at the ordination. Father McNamee, in turn, shared the idea with Deacon Whitney Robichaux, master of ceremonies for the ordination, and with the ordination candidates. Everybody was supportive and on board with it.

Flower guild members Kathy Ledlie and Norine McCahey put the arrangements together. “The mondial white rose is a premium rose that opens well and it’s used quite often at the cathedral,” said Seitz. She said the flowers were meant to recognize the women who helped nurture their sons from birth and willingly gave them to the church.

Trying to fight by tears once again, Patricia Starr holds her vase of mondial white roses as the congregation applauds the mothers of the newly ordained priests. In a moment of surprise, the mothers were presented with flowers from their sons.

“It was great to have that special moment to thank her for being my mother and raising me in the faith,” said Father Mark. His mother Patricia was emotional throughout the ordination. She was often seen clinching a handful of Kleenex as she wiped away tears of joy. He thought the highlight of the ordination for her was watching her son prostrated before the altar during the Litany of the Saints, but Father Mark said she really loved the flowers too. That evening when the family went out to celebrate at dinner she brought the flowers along with her.
“It was simply a way to show her my appreciation for all that she has done for me since I was a baby,” said Father Tri. “No gift or words can adequately describe my gratitude for all she’s done, but the flowers were a small way to express my feelings.”

Father Tri Nguyen said it’s hard to fully express his gratitude toward his mother Mary Thao, but the flowers were a small token of his appreciation for all that she has done for him.

The Flower Guild’s idea turned out to be the right touch. It was well received by the mothers and judging by the thunderous applause, the gesture was welcomed by those in attendance at the 2012 Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood.
The Amen of nature is always a flower.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer


Note: See Andrew Nelson’s story in the June 7 issue of The Georgia Bulletinfor more information about this ordination and see Stephen O’Kane’s story in the same issue about the May 26 transitional diaconate ordination.  

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