“Being nice comes naturally to him”
At the beginning of the ordination rite, after the director of vocations assures the archbishop that the candidate has been deemed worthy and the archbishop has chosen the candidate for the order of the priesthood, it is the turn of the people to speak.
“Thank God,” shouted those in the pews of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on June 25. It was solid support for the ordination of Deacon – soon to be a father – Dustin Busse.
The cathedral then filled with applause, and then Deacon Busse turned to the people, sharing a happy smile at their approval.
Father Busse, a former electronics technician, was born and raised in the town of Lebanon, about 20 miles east of Corvallis.
He was neither religious nor spiritual in his youth, but fate found him in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York while on a business trip. Writing about the experience, Father Busse described himself as sorry despite his worldly success – until the moment on St. Patrick’s Day when he felt a consolation that changed his life. “I felt peace, a peace I didn’t even know I was looking for until I felt it.”
Later, after hearing a call to the priesthood, he writes that his visceral reaction was “You must be laughing at me, my God.”
He entered Mount Angel Seminary and was sent to Rome to study at North American College. He spent his pastoral year as a deacon to Christ the King in Milwaukie, where he found encouragement for his vocation.
“He’s very nice and very sympathetic,” said Theresa Rivelli, a Catholic from Milwaukie who met Father Busse there. “You can really identify with him. He’s a happy guy.
In his homily, Archbishop Sample said that during a lunch together the day before the ordination, he and Father Busse discussed the homily.
One of the points Father Busse hoped the Archbishop would make was that Father Busse’s ordination put him at the service of the people. “He is ordained for you,” agreed the Archbishop. “His life is for you.”
Archbishop Sample devoted most of his words to explaining the ordination rite, in part, he said, because many people have never seen one.
“This ritual that we are about to experience together speaks powerfully about the essential identity of a priest and his ministry,” he said, describing a priest’s life as “sacramentally configured for Jesus -Christ”.
Becoming a priest is not like finishing school and embarking on a career, the Archbishop said. “It is a holy thing that Deacon Dustin is about to experience,” Archbishop Sample said. “He changed today.”
The Archbishop described ordination as a covenant with God, where “Christ seals a sacramental bond.”
Archbishop Sample then explained the elements of the rite, such as the series of promises Father Busse must make, including the promise to obey the Archbishop and his successors.
“It is more difficult than that of celibacy which he has already done,” the archbishop said. “Abandon your own will and go with Peter.”
Ordinations include the dramatic moments when the future priest prostrates himself on the ground before the altar during the litany of the saints.
Even more poignant was the moment when Deacon Busse became Father Busse – when Archbishop Sample laid his hands on the head of the new priest.
“This is the heart of the problem,” the archbishop said.
Father Busse was then dressed, with the help of Father Peter O’Brien, in the chasuble of a priest.
Archbishop Sample anointed the hands of the new priest with chrism oil, and the other priests present gave him their blessings and the kiss of peace.
After Mass, as Father Busse emerged into the sunny courtyard of the cathedral, a large group of priests and bishops surrounded him and gave him a standing ovation.
Family and friends enjoyed celebratory refreshments and waited in a long line for a blessing from the newly ordained priest.
“He’s always been one of those people that everyone loves,” said Nicole Cochran, Father Busse’s younger sister. “Being nice comes naturally to him.”
“I hope he has a successful calling,” said Natalie Cochran, Father Busse’s 9-year-old niece.
Ed Langlois contributed to this story.