By Anneliese Esparza
RANCHO CUCAMONGA—Hundreds of Diocesan Catholics, including priests, deacons, seminarians, religious and lay people, gathered in joyful celebration to witness the priestly ordination of Fr. Ian Francisco Hollick on May 29.
The ceremony began with a procession of Knights of Columbus, altar servers, Bishop Rojas, several concelebrating clergy and Fr. Hollick and his family. The church was decorated with gold and white banners, the colors of the liturgical vestments.
Fr. Hollick is the first priest that Bishop Rojas has ordained for the Diocese of San Bernardino. During his homily, Bishop Rojas expressed his joy and gratitude that Fr. Hollick had answered the call to serve as a priest.
“What a blessing we share as we come together to witness Ian Francisco’s ordination to the priesthood today,” said Bishop Rojas.
Addressing Fr. Hollick directly, Bishop Rojas continued, “Dear Ian: God has brought you here today. He created you for this moment of your Ordination. Thank you for saying yes to Christ Jesus.”
“We will keep you in our hearts. You will always be in our prayers,” Bishop Rojas promised Fr. Hollick towards the end of his homily.
After the homily came the Examination of Candidate and Promise of Obedience, where Fr. Hollick answered “I do” to a series of questions about his commitment to the duties of the priesthood and pledged his obedience to Bishop Rojas and his successors.
Then, Fr. Hollick prostrated himself on the floor. The congregation knelt in prayer as the choir sang the Litany of the Saints, calling upon holy men and women such as St. Bernardine (patron saint of the Diocese), St. John Vianney (patron saint of parish priests), St. Francis of Assisi and John the Baptist (two of Fr. Hollick’s favorite saints) and many more.
After Bishop Rojas laid hands on Fr. Hollick to ordain him, Fr. Hollick was clothed with the priestly vestments of a stole and chasuble. He also had his hands anointed with chrism oil and received the paten and chalice to signify the importance of celebrating Mass in his role as a priest. The congregation then broke out in enthusiastic applause to welcome the newest priest of the Diocese.
Before the final blessing, Fr. Hollick took a moment to address the congregation. “Thank you for being here with me today. Thank you for praying for me to this point, praying [for] me all the way. This is a big moment,” he said, later referring to the sacrament he had just received as “an ambush of grace.”
Fr. Hollick thanked anyone who had been a part of his journey to the priesthood, including those who formed him during his time at the seminary, his family members and the several parish communities that he has been a part of thus far.
Speaking after the end of Mass, Fr. Hollick said he was “extremely overwhelmed” by receiving the sacrament. Nonetheless, he is ready to begin his ministry, saying that his greatest hope as a priest is to be able to “draw souls to goodness, to beauty and to truth.”
Fr. Hollick, who was raised in Corona, was ordained a transitional deacon in December 2020 and has been serving at Our Lady of Hope in San Bernardino for the last few months. His first assignment as a priest will be at St. Martha in Murrieta.
Anneliese Esparza is a freelance writer and a parishioner at St. Martha’s in Murrieta.