On Nov. 25, the day before Father Marcial Maciel's 60th anniversary as a priest, Archbishop Franc Rodé, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, ordained 59 Legionaries to the priesthood in Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Legionary Bishops Jorge Bernal and Pedro Pablo Elizondo — the former, emeritus of the missionary Prelature of Cancún-Chetumal in the state of Quintana Roo, southeast Mexico; the latter, his recently appointed successor — joined Archbishop Rodé in anointing the newly ordained.

In a display of the Church's catholicity, the new priests hail from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Vietnam, New Zealand, Spain and Ireland.

“You are a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek,” the Legionary choir sang as the newly ordained priests gave Communion to their parents. “The Lord has sworn an oath he will never regret.” Parents cried and kissed their sons’ hands as they knelt or stood to receive the Body of Christ.

“Alejandro's vocation has changed not only his life, but the whole family,” said Enriqueta Acevedo, mother of Father Alejandro García Acevedo. “Now we pray more, now we are closer, and now we continually thank God for our son's vocation. We have discovered that the distance which separates us — that at first shook us — is only a physical distance; for the priestly vocation keeps us closely united, intimately united, in love for God.”

“I'm the happiest mom on earth,” said Mrs. Patty Brooks, originally from Milwaukee, Wis., and mother of one of the 15 Americans ordained Nov. 25. “My son's priesthood will touch the life of many, many souls. What more can I wish for?”

Father Alfonso Aguilar