By Melanie Sisinni

         The Diocese of Erie hasn’t celebrated a Mass of priesthood ordination at St. Peter Cathedral, Erie, since 2018. With the cathedral’s renovations completed just a few months ago, Bishop Lawrence Persico ordained Father Chris Beran and Father Cory Pius at the newly restored church on May 26 in front of hundreds of people, including their brother priests, deacons, families and friends.

         Both men completed their major seminary education at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, studying together as friends. They each have special attachments to the cathedral.

Father Chris Beran and Father Cory Pius lie prostrate for
the Litany of Saints during their Mass of Ordination at St.
Peter Cathedral, Erie.
Photo/Vince Dragone

         “Father Cory was there for his diaconate, and it’s my home parish,” said Father Beran. “It was a joyous connection.”

         Father Pius spoke of his happiness to be ordained with Father Beran, with whom he has spent much time on their journey toward priesthood.

         “Ordination is something both of us have looked forward to and talked about for years,” said Father Pius. “It was very satisfying and fulfilling that I got to be ordained with him because we had been together in seminary for five years. We are good friends. We have spent summers together and worked together for so long. It was wonderful to be ordained together too.”

         In his homily, Bishop Persico discussed the relationship between Jesus and Peter and addressed Father Beran and Father Pius.

         “Jesus chooses certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name the priestly office in the church. Today, Chris and Cory, he calls you to that office. He calls you to shepherd his people in a unique manner, patterned on his own life of service and sacrifice,” said Bishop Persico.

         Bishop Persico reminded the two priests that they would never be alone in their work and reassured them that God would always help if they turned to Him in times of need.

         “Always remember, when you teach in the name of Christ — when you baptize, when you forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church, when you comfort the sick and dying,  when you celebrate the sacraments and particularly the sacrifice of Christ in the Eucharist — you are both a servant of the Church and a member of the people of God,” said Bishop Persico. “As such, while you are appointed to act on behalf of the Christian faithful for those things that pertain to God, remember that you — like all of us — are in need of God’s continued presence, life and mercy.”

         During the ceremony, candidates for ordination lie prostrate on the floor while the Litany of Saints is sung. Throughout this time, the congregation is asking the saints to intercede on behalf of the candidates and give them support.

         Father Beran said for him, this was one of the most powerful parts of the ceremony.

         “Although we did lay prostrate during the ceremony for deacons, this time, it was more meaningful for me. I really experienced the Holy Spirit there,” said Father Beran.

Father Chris Beran and Father Cory Pius can't stop smiling after their Mass of Ordination
on May 26.
Photo/Vince Dragone

         After the Ordination Mass, Father Beran and Father Pius gave their first priestly blessings to friends and family.

         “We have been waiting to do that,” said Father Pius. “Many people I know and love have been waiting for that too, and that’s very humbling.”

         Father Beran and Father Pius are both ready to face the challenges and joys ahead of them on their priestly journeys of service. The happiness they experienced at ordination continues.

         “The smile on my face — I couldn’t wipe it off all weekend. Even in my sleep, I’ve been smiling,” said Father Beran.