CELEBRATION | Pilgrims filed in from as far as El Salvador to Corpus Christi Parish in Celebration to celebrate with Deacon Edwin Cardona as he became ordained to the priesthood. There was a palpable joy on Sept. 5 as voices raised in song, welcomed the procession that brought this 10-year journey to its culmination. Those gathered included Cardona’s 90-year-old grandfather, Vidal Villatoro Guzmán. His words captured the moment. “I am filled with emotion to see my grandson ordained and following God’s commandments.”
Bishop John Noonan entreated Deacon Cardona by drawing on the example of Archbishop Oscar Romero, a fellow Salvadoran who will be canonized a saint on Oct. 14. “Archbishop Romero spoke with courage and conviction that came through a relationship with God in a life of prayer,” stated the bishop. Quoting Romero he said, “In recent days the Lord has inspired in me a great desire for holiness. I have been thinking of how far a soul can ascend if it lets itself be possessed entirely by God.”
And it is this possession that the newly ordained Father Cardona so desires. “I want to be like the lamb, to pour myself out for love of the people, for the salvation of souls…,” he exclaimed. Reflecting on Romero’s life, Bishop Noonan noted, “Being chosen by God is not easy”—a reference to the archbishop’s martyrdom.
Yet, he reassured the new priest that, the love of Christ is with him. “We have been chosen by Him to reveal not our own heart, but the heart of Christ which is love… Pope Francis reminds priests, when we allow ourselves to be conformed by the love of Christ – our lives, our ministry changes.” Father Cardona’s father, José, concurred sharing, “The will of God is always fulfilled. It is wonderful to see how marvelous the love of God is.”
Bishop Noonan added, “Your ‘yes’ this morning, Edwin, is your response to this love of God. It is a surrender of self to allow yourself to be found by God and to be led by God.” Cardona said he hopes “…to be led, to be guided to give my very best to the Church and to Him. It’s been a theme for me as I prepared for the priesthood and now, I am ready to lay down my life. I think that, now more than ever, that is needed.”
Bishop Noonan appointed Reverend Edwin Cardona as parochial vicar of Basilica of St. Paul, Daytona Beach, effective September 7, 2018.
Click here to read about the blessing of Fr. Cardona’s chalice and paten.
Click here for a gallery of images from his ordination on September 6 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Celebration.
By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic – September 6, 2018