OGDEN — Father Stephen Tilley celebrated his first Mass on July 1 at St. Joseph Parish in Ogden, his home parish. At a newly ordained priest’s first Mass, it is customary for him to ask another priest to give the homily. Fr. Tilley asked Fr. Ken Vialpando, pastor of St. Marguerite Parish and former pastor of St. Joseph, to preach.
The Mass was concelebrated by Father Omar Ontiveros and Father Joseph Delka, pastor and parochial vicar, respectively, of St. Joseph Parish.
In his homily, Fr. Vialpando mixed humor and encouragement as he spoke a bit about Fr. Tilley’s journey to the priesthood. On a serious note, he said that the night before, at the ordination Mass, Fr. Tilley made a contract “to do God’s will and not your own; that you came to serve and not be served, and that you came to be the servant of all and not the king or a prince of the palace.”
Before beginning the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Fr. Tilley blessed a chalice that his family gave him as a gift for his ordination. The golden chalice is French, from the 1930s; a chalice is a traditional gift from the family to a new priest. Then, at the end of the Mass, he presented to Fr. Vialpando the first stole that he wore. This is a gift that is normally presented to the priest’s father, but Fr. Tilley’s father passed away nine years ago.
“You might not be my father, but you were my spiritual father in many ways, and you were with me and my family when we carried many tough crosses, and I could not have made it without you,” Fr. Tilley told Fr. Vialpando. “Know that I think of you as a father, and I look forward to sharing the priesthood with you.”
Fr. Tilley also presented his mother with the maniturgium, the linen cloth that was wrapped around his hands after they were anointed with the chrism oil during the Rite of Ordination. Traditionally, the mother is buried holding the maniturgium, and when St. Peter asks what she has done for the Church, she presents the maniturgium and says, “I gave my son as a priest.”