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By Eric Banecker, First Things, 5 . 15 . 23
Rev. Eric J. Banecker is a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
This month marks the fifth anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood (on the nineteenth of May, to be exact). My secretary urged me to have some kind of public celebration, but I demurred. It’s only five years, I thought to myself. I still have holy cards from the ordination I haven’t given out yet.
Looking back, though, these five years have been quite memorable in the life of the Church, and not always for happy reasons. Just weeks after my classmates and I were ordained, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report came out. Then there was the McCarrick scandal. Then the Amazon synod. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, the first time I presided at an Easter Vigil, I was alone with just three other priests. In the midst of that shutdown and the riots in American cities, I was sent as an administrator, then pastor, into the heart of one of those cities. I arrived in a parish where, just weeks before, the smell of tear gas had wafted over families as they sat huddled in their backyards. …
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