Peter Jesserer Smith is a staff reporter for the National Catholic Register. He covered Pope Francis’s historic visit to the United States in 2015, and to Jerusalem and the Holy Land in 2014. He has reported on the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis, including from Jordan and Lebanon on an Egan Fellowship from Catholic Relief Services. Before coming on board the Register in 2013, he was a freelance writer, reporting for Catholic media outlets as the Register and Our Sunday Visitor. He is a graduate of the National Journalism Center and earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Christendom College, where he co-founded the student newspaper, The Rambler, and served as its editor. He comes originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York State.
Sometimes you can read the news and the world can seem as if it is falling apart. That “things fall apart; the center cannot hold” as the poet Yeats* once wrote. But the sin and evil behind the events that we reporters have to tell you doesn’t really have the last word. Our loving Father does not permit it. As St. Paul observed in Romans 5:20, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
Grace much more abounds, and where grace is, there good news stories can be found.
Here is a story of beauty, which amid all the sorrows of our world and our own lives, should warm the heart and give us joy.
Meet Father William Carmona Lopez. He’s dying of cancer, but on Sept. 8 became “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)
Father Carmona had a dream since he was 12 to become a priest — a dream that terminal cancer would have cut short had not his bishop called him to orders, ordaining him a deacon and priest as he lay on a hospital bed in the chapel at Christus Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio.
Watch the video from the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Father Carmona's bishop, Bishop David Choby, flew out from Nashville, Tenn. to ordain him Sept. 8 as he lay dying. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio was there, along with Father Carmona’s fellow seminarians. And that day, Father Carmona was ordained a deacon and then a priest.
This is beauty that reminds the Christian faithful to have hope, mindful that our loving God calls us to that “undiscovered country” that our Lord Jesus Christ revealed is being prepared for those who love him.
Click here to watch Father Carmona’s ordination Mass made available by Catholic Television of San Antonio.
In lieu of comments, please offer up a prayer right now for our priests and pray for holy, joyful families that inspire such men as Father Carmona to follow the Lord wherever he calls.
*Homer nods: In his haste to get to a new assignment, the author mistakenly had written the name of the esteemed poet W.B. Yeats as “Yates”: which is the name of a scenic county in New York's Finger Lakes, perhaps as much beloved by the author as Yeats had spoken of Innisfree. Many thanks to the good souls and fellow lovers of literature who kindly informed me of the error. In gratitude, I have added links to the cited poems of Yeats, and I hope it enriches prayerful reflection on the video of Father Carmona's moving ordination.