Bishop Ordains Four Men to the Priesthood
May 6, 2019 • Savanna Kearney

By Savanna Kearney

It’s official! Fathers Nick Bennett, Matt King, Bob Hoffman, and Eric Stelzer were ordained by Bishop Felipe Estévez on May 4 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. They will now serve in parishes of the diocese.

Priests of the Diocese of St. Augustine lay their hands on the ordinands to invoke the Holy Spirit to come down upon those being ordained, giving them a sacred character and setting them apart for the designated ministry. (photo by St. Augustine/Monarch Studio)

In his homily, Bishop Estévez said he hopes more priests will emerge from campus ministries, Catholic schools, lay ministry formation and more, as it did with Fathers King, Bennett, Hoffman, and Stelzer.

“Something about this ordination is truly unique because the vocation of these four men flourished in our parishes, in our ministries, in the life of this local church,” he said. “They are indeed hope for our future.”

Bishop Estévez went on to discuss three points which the four ordinands shared with the rest of the assembly – the first of which is that we are all missionary disciples nourished by the Word of God.

“This personal, prayerful experience is shared in catechesis, preaching, and even social media, for a priest, keeps that Word within and seeks to translate its power to the current culture, to the needs of the community,” he said.

The bishop pointed out that we are all strengthened by the Eucharist.

The ordinands lie prostrate to symbolize their unworthiness for the office to be assumed and their dependence upon God and the prayers of the Christian community. (photo by St. Augustine/Monarch Studio)

“The mystery of the priesthood can only be properly lived within the mystery of the Eucharist,” he said. “He is to enable the gift of the Eucharist for the community gathering as the Body of Christ.

Finally, Bishop Estévez concluded his homily by saying that each one of us seeks to be faithful to a vocation of service and love.

“The only way we can become the best version of ourselves is being attuned to the vocation God wills for each of us, as God calls us by our own baptismal name,” he said. “Jesus only asks each one of us to abide in his love so that our joy may be complete.”

The four priests will begin their assignments as parochial vicars on June 3. Father Nick Bennett has been assigned to St. Augustine Parish in Gainesville, Father Bob Hoffman is assigned to St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Orange Park, Father Matt King will go to Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Ponte Vedra Beach, and Father Eric Stelzer will be at Assumption Parish in Jacksonville.

Click here for the full text of Bishop Estevez’ Ordination Homily