By Larry Orsini, OFS

One of God’s greatest gifts is that of tears. Sometimes emotions are so full that they overflow and run down our cheeks. Recently was such a time. My wife Bonnie and I had the privilege of watching the ordination of Jason Damon, ofm, and Louis Manuel Rosado, ofm, as priests in the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor and we both watched with tears of joy. The ordination mass was held at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Maryland and fortunately streamed live to our home in Lewiston, New York.

We have known Jason since his days as a St. Bonaventure student and were amazed at his participation and insightful comments at various Mt. Irenaeus gatherings. Near the end of his undergraduate years, he expressed his desire to become a Secular Franciscan and I was his formation director. Even though I had been a formation director for quite a while, this became one of the best and yet intimidating experiences of my life. Several times I recall thinking that Jason was the director and I the candidate. The formation process consists mainly of a period of study and discernment during which the candidate tries to understand God’s calling. Jason more than accomplished the formation process and was professed a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and for all in our fraternity the tears of joy came. He was and will ever be a brother to us at the St. Irenaeus Fraternity of Secular Franciscans.

He has now taken the next step in his spiritual journey and is an ordained priest. Over his life as a priest, tears will be shed as he presides and witnesses the marriages of young couples in love. More will be shed as he baptizes babies. As he holds the hands of those suffering in pain or distress, people of every age will be moved as they will see his compassion and goodness. There are many kinds of tears and he will experience them all with love, empathy and kindness. Bonnie and I and his other Secular brothers and sisters wish him well, knowing that all of the God’s gift of joyful tears are in his fingertips and heart.

Jason is now serving at St. John the Baptist Parish in Joliet, Illinois.