Diocese ordains two priests June 9

Joan Kurkowski-Gillen

Photos by Juan Guajardo

North Texas Catholic

June 15, 2012

Father Manuel Holguin born in Mexico and Father Michael Moloney born in Ireland

“I always knew he would be a priest.”

Deacons Manuel Holguin (right) and Michael Moloney prostrate themselves before the altar of St. Patrick Cathedral as the Litany of the Saints is sung, just before Bishop Kevin Vann ordains them to the priesthood for the Diocese of Fort Worth, Saturday, June 9.

Deacons Manuel Holguin (right) and Michael Moloney prostrate themselves before the altar of St. Patrick Cathedral as the Litany of the Saints is sung, just before Bishop Kevin Vann ordains them to the priesthood for the Diocese of Fort Worth, Saturday, June 9.

Two families, with origins in different corners of the world, expressed that same sentiment as they waited inside St. Patrick Cathedral June 9 for the ordination of Cruz Manuel Holguin Ogaz and Michael Eugene Gerard Joseph Moloney to the Sacred Order of Presbyter.

Sitting in the front pew of the cathedral, Guadalupe Ogaz beamed with pride as she touched the gold colored vestments her son, Manuel, would soon wear.

“I’m very thankful, happy, excited, and proud,” the native of Jimenez, Chihuahua, Mexico said in Spanish. “This is the first priest in our family. It’s a blessing and will set a good example for the grandchildren.”

Across the aisle, Marian Laningham and Ellen Fung remembered their brother’s long journey to the priesthood. During his career as a medical doctor, Michael Moloney was as concerned with the underlying causes of a patient’s illness as he was with the disease itself.

“We aren’t surprised by Michael’s vocation. We knew it would eventually get there. His interest in the Church is something we noticed when he was 13 or 14,” says Marian, who left County Waterford, Ireland and followed her brother to Houston in 1979. “He challenged everyone in the family spiritually.”

Family and friends of both men packed the downtown cathedral on a Saturday morning to watch Bishop Kevin Vann confer the sacrament of Holy Orders during a Mass rich in symbolism and pageantry. The crowd of well-wishers broke into spontaneous applause as the bishop announced, “Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose these, our brothers, for the Order of the Priesthood.”

Deacon Moloney is pictured with his family.
Deacon Michael Moloney is with his family.

Following an examination of the candidates and promise of obedience, Deacons Holguin and Moloney prostrated themselves before the altar in an act of submission as the congregation prayed the Litany of the Saints. Rising from prayer, the men then knelt before the bishop. In the most solemn moment of the ordination rite, Bishop Vann laid hands on each deacon while praying for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The ancient sign of ordination continued with fellow priests laying hands on each candidate.

As the cathedral choir sang Veni Creator Spiritus, each of the newly ordained priests donned a stole and chasuble assisted by vesting priests Father Kyle Walterscheid, Father David Bristow, and Father Jim Pemberton. The ritual continued with Bishop Vann anointing the palms of the men with Sacred Chrism — a visible sign indicating they are now priests forever.

In his homily, Bishop Vann explained how the faith journey of both deacons began in different parts of the world but eventually found a home in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Bishop Vann anoints Fr. Holguin's hands with the holy oil of chrism, as a sign of their sanctification to God's service.

Bishop Vann anoints Fr. Holguin's hands with the holy oil of chrism, as a sign of their sanctification to God's service.

“The two paths of faith and family in Ireland and Mexico has been a journey where the Lord’s call has led you here to preach the Gospel and to build up the Body of Christ with courage and love,” he continued.


Addressing the deacons, Bishop Vann said Sacred Scripture is more than words on a page.

“It must be living in your lives and form your priestly ministry,” he cautioned. “Be shepherds who will always have a heart for your people in need. Sing the praise of God by your lives, always putting your trust in Him.”

Their ministry should remind people again and again, “where did we come from and to Whom are we going?

“The banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe, carried by the Mexican people, gives us a path to follow from this moment,” he added. “Mary, as the Mother of God — whether she is known as Our Lady of Guadalupe or Our Lady of Knock, is a model of discipleship for you. She teaches us again and again to trust in God, to always rejoice in what He has done in our lives and to always say yes to whatever her Son asks us to do.”

Lives, lived in holiness, will lead to holiness in others.

“Michael and Manuel, as you celebrate Mass, hear confessions, baptize, witness marriages and more, always say ‘yes’ fully and without reservation to whatever the Lord asks of you,” he advised. “Your lives, lived in holiness, will lead to the holiness of those whom you serve and care for.”

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Fr, Moloney accepts a chalice from Bishop Vann, symbolic of his ministry of the Body and Blood of Jesus at the altar.

Following the Mass, family members and friends gathered in the parish hall to receive a blessing from the new priests. Some traveled from as far away as New York, Oklahoma, and West Texas to witness the ordination.

Vicki Estrada led a contingent from Christ the King Church in Lubbock who came to offer congratulations to Father Moloney. The group became friends with the physician turned priest 10 years ago when he was part of their Bible study group.

“He was always very spiritual and compassionate. We thought he would make a great priest long before he knew it,” Estrada said.

Watching the ordination of a close friend made her cry.

“I was just so happy for him,” she said, emotionally, during the reception. “It was an honor to receive his blessing.”

Rolando Monroy traveled from Oklahoma with sons, Leonel and Eric, so they could meet his boyhood friend, Father Holguin. Both men grew up in the same town in Mexico and attended middle school together.

“Watching someone you grew up with become a priest is a good feeling,” Monroy said in Spanish. “It surprised me but it’s a good surprise.”

Both Fr. Moloney and Fr. Holguin celebrated their first Mass in the presence of family members the following day on Corpus Christi Sunday.

“He has a lot of people who love him and we are so proud,” said Maria Pardo, Fr. Holguin’s sister who witnessed his first Mass at Immaculate Conception Church.

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The newly ordained priest served his diaconate year at the Denton parish and will continue his duties there as parochial vicar. During the Mass, he wore gold vestments purchased by his family as a gift.

Fr. Moloney celebrated his first Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral where he will serve as parochial vicar effective July 1. Immediate plans include visiting his 84-year-old mother, Anna, and brother, Tom, who live on the family dairy farm in Ireland.

Visiting from Houston, Marian Laningham noticed a change in her brother, Michael.
“Although he’s had a lot to do, he seems much more at peace,” she said. “I like to think it’s the Holy Spirit at work.”

Two families, with origins in different corners of the world, expressed that same sentiment as they waited inside St. Patrick Cathedral June 9 for the ordination of Cruz Manuel Holguin Ogaz and Michael Eugene Gerard Joseph Moloney to the Sacred Order of Presbyter.

Published (until 12/31/2020)
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