Largest group ordained in St. Paul in years

.- Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Saturday ordained the largest number of priests in years. Fifteen men, aged 25 to 48, were welcomed into the priesthood during a nearly three-hour mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul. More than 3,000 people attended, reported the Star Tribune.

The class of 2005 is more than double the size of the average of six and the second-largest group to be ordained this year after Chicago’s 16. It also reflects a national trend toward older, better-educated seminarians, many of them not native Americans. Some hailed from Vietnam and India.

Fr. Thomas Wilson, director of vocations for the archdiocese, said he believes the large number of ordinands is the fruit of prayer for vocations. Many of the ordinands also said they were inspired by Pope John Paul II.

Michael Izen, 38, admitted to the Star Tribune that he got a little teary-eyed at the laying on of hands.

Izen grew up in a Catholic family of six children. He is the first priest in the family ever. He had worked as a systems analyst in the consumers markets group at 3M for nine years, had bought a home and dated a "great Catholic woman” for four years.

But Izen gave up all of that to follow his call.

In his first gesture as a priest, Izen blessed his nephew, Jack, and niece Gabrielle, 4.


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