Answering the Call – Ordination brings blessings upon new priests, Diocese

In a public response to a “call to holiness,” Alejandro Giraldo Roldán and Daniel Joseph Scanlan were Ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Frank J. Dewane during a Mass on July 15, 2023, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

The poignant and emotional Rite places Fathers Roldán and Scanlan in new roles as they are raised to the Order of the Presbyterate where they will now celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, confer the Sacraments, and teach the Gospel.

Bishop Dewane congratulated the ordinandi for answering the call to holiness and advancing in formation through prayer, discernment, guidance and direction which helped them grow closer to the Lord. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the ordinandi are called to reflect and magnify Christ, and are sent out to build up the Church of Christ and to build up the People of God.

“You have chosen a particular life and continue to hear that call,” Bishop Dewane stated. “The Diocese is grateful for your having listened to that call to live in response to ministerial priesthood. Do it with joy. Do it with a genuine love for Christ, for others, and for yourself. It is who you are. To achieve this, keep your eyes on the example given by Christ, the High Priest, the Good Shepherd. See Him as your role model.”

Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a priest is transformed and marked indelibly as an instrument through which others receive the Sacraments, Bishop Dewane said. “Take God in your heart as you carry out the mission of sanctifying the faithful by uniting them to Christ’s sacrifice.”

When the rite of ordination began, Roldán and Scanlan were each called forth to the presence of the Bishop by Diocese Director of Vocations Father Shawn Roser, and upon hearing their names called out, each responded, one saying “Present,” and the other “Presente.”

Following the homily, Roldán and Scanlan each knelt before the Bishop to promise respect and obedience to him and his successors. Then they lay prostrate before the altar for the Litany of Supplication/Litany of Saints. The whole assembly joined in the prayer which invoked God’s grace and the intercession of the saints in heaven.

After this solemn act of prayer, the Sacrament of Ordination was conferred when Roldán and Scanlan each knelt before Bishop Dewane. In silent prayer, the Bishop imposed his hands on the head of each ordinand as a sign of the sharing of the priesthood; each priest the present laid his hands on the head of the newly ordained.

The ordinandi again knelt before the Bishop, who then recited the consecratory Prayer of Ordination; which, together with the Bishop’s imposition of hands, is the essential to the Rite of Ordination.

After the prayer, the newly ordained were vested in the stole and chasuble, vestments which are worn when celebrating the Eucharist that symbolize the responsibility and authority in service to Christ.

Father Roldán was vested by Father Lawton Lang, the new Administrator of San Antonio Parish in Port Charlotte, while Father Scanlan was vested by his oldest brother, Father Eric Scanlan, Pastor of Incarnation Parish in Sarasota.

The palms of the new priests were anointed with the Sacred Chrism by Bishop Dewane, the sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who will make the priest’s ministry fruitful. Next, the Bishop presented Fathers Roldán and Scanlan with the chalice and paten which all priests are called to present to God in the Eucharistic sacrifice saying: “Receive the oblation of the holy people, to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross.”

The Rite of Ordination ended with the Bishop giving a fraternal kiss of peace to the newly ordained priests, welcoming them into the Diocesan Presbyterate or priesthood. The priests present followed the Bishop’s example. The newly ordained then joined Bishop Dewane at the altar to the applause and joy of all present.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist followed as Fathers Roldán and Scanlan joined for the first time in concelebrating the Eucharist with Bishop Dewane, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, acting in the person of Christ. From this sacrifice their whole priestly ministry will draw its strength.

Some 700 people witnessed this joyous occasion, including more than 40 priests, men and women religious, permanent deacons, the Knights of Columbus, the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta and the Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

Father Roldán’s sister and several friends from his native Colombia were able to be present for the ordination, but unfortunately his mother and another sister were unable to attend. Sadly, his father passed away in April.

Father Scanlan was blessed to have his entire family present (he is the seventh of 11 children). Also present were several nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins and more.

Both men also had large groups supporting them from the several Parishes they served at during pastoral assignments as seminarians.

Father Roldán, 29, a native of Columbia, said the ordination was an overwhelming experience that brought him great joy and solace.

“Giving myself completely over to the Lord through the priesthood is something I have thought about for many years. It is finally here, and it is wonderful. I will now follow the Lord in my ministry to help others find the joy I have,” Father Roldán said.

During his discernment, Father Roldán initially studied with a religious order before later joining the Diocese of Venice as a seminarian. He studied at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami before going on to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. As a seminarian, he served pastoral assignments at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish on Longboat Key and at St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota where he celebrated his first Mass as a priest. His first assignment is Parochial Vicar of St. Agnes Parish and St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, both in Naples given special responsibility to the Spanish-speaking community at each Parish.

Father Scanlan, 28, was born and raised in Fort Myers in a large family. He was inspired to discern a vocation to the priesthood when his oldest brother, Father Eric, told the family about his own discernment 15 years ago and then he witnessed his brother’s ordination in 2013. Fast-forward 10 years and they are both now part of the Diocesan Presbyterate.

“When I was young, it never occurred to me that becoming a priest was a thing that I would consider, but seeing my brother go through the process and growing in my own personal relationship with Jesus, when the time came, it was an easy decision” Father Scanlan said. “It was such a wonderful experience to have my whole family present to share this experience with me. Then my brother helped me put on my priestly vestments. That was amazing. This whole experience has been an affirmation of God putting me in this position as a priest, where I was called to serve Him in His earthly Kingdom.”

Father Scanlan first studied at Ave Maria University before becoming a Diocesan seminarian at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami. He later studied in Rome at the Pontifical North American College and received a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Most recently, he initiated his studies in moral theology at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce. As a seminarian, he served pastoral assignments at the following Parishes: St. Vincent de Paul in Fort Myers; Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles in Bradenton; St. Francis Xavier in Fort Myers; St. Joseph in Bradenton; and St. Katharine Drexel in Cape Coral. Father Scanlan’s first Mass was celebrated at Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria, where his parents reside. Following his ordination, Father is initially assisting at Epiphany Cathedral and then will serve as Parochial Vicar at St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota, effective Aug. 9.

The Ordination to the Priesthood is considered one of the most critical events in the life of the Diocese as it ensures the continuation of the Church and the availability of the Sacraments to the faithful.

A reception followed in the Cathedral Parish Hall where the newly ordained formally greeted the public and imparted their priestly blessing upon them.