Rev. Lino Oropeza, SSE, became the Edmundites' newest priest when he was ordained December 18 in the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel on campus.
Lino Oropeza's boyhood parish, Holy Trinity in Caracas, Venezuela, was run by the Edmundites, including Rev. Ed Dubriske, SSE '60. The week before Christmas, Oropeza was ordained to the priesthood in the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel, a ceremony that marked the first ordination of a new priest in the Society of Saint Edmund since 1996.
Dubriski was there, performing the vesting of the new priest who used to be his parishioner.
It's been nearly two decades since an Edmundite has been ordained to the priesthood. "For 18 years, Father Brian Cummings had to be referred to as the youngest Edmundite," Superior General Very Rev. Stephen Hornat '72 said in remarks near the end of ceremony. "Do you know what a joyful day this is for him? Today our prayer has been answered ... in God's time."
Oropeza's path to the priesthood included a few years running a computer business in Caracas and a year of charitable service to test the validity of the vocation he felt stirring. That year, he ran a church-sponsored house for kids from remote villages who needed a place to stay to attend high school. He loved the work, and he entered a diocesan seminary in Venezuela, largely because the Edmundites—always his first interest—had no novitiate at the time.
They established one soon after, so after he spent a year of guided discernment in his home country, he came to Vermont.
It felt like the right fit for Oropeza, who now is an avid snowboarder and loves the Green Mountain State. Last year he finished his theology studies at Boston College and spent the past year as a deacon, working with Saint Michael's students through campus ministry on retreats, helping with liturgies, preaching at Masses and assisting at St. Anne's Shrine while living with brother Edmundites on campus.
Soon after his ordination, Oropeza left for Selma, Alabama, where Hornat says the ordination will "refresh" the Edmundites by "expanding the breadth of our community life and our vision for the church and the world" with a priest from a different culture, and by helping older Edmundites better understand the spiritual outlook of a younger generation.
"This is an encouraging time for us," Hornat says, noting that others, too, are joining the Edmundites. Working in Selma, as Hornat did, can favorably shape Oropreza's priesthood and "set the right priorities of service," he said.
"It comes at a great time, because he'll be there during the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march and bridge-crossing that Edmundites had close involvement with as leaders in the movement," Hornat says. "I think it's important for our young people to carry that history. Lino will be the first of our young vocations to know of our involvement, keep that history alive and be the storyteller down the road."