By Katherine Long
The diocese’s newest priest drew on the words of a giant of the faith as he reflected on his ordination:
“All I can think of is St. Paul saying, ‘It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,’” said Father Matthew Lyons, just minutes after the liturgy celebrating his ordination ended.
Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, joined by Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Costello and dozens of brother priests, deacons, and seminarians, celebrated Father Lyons’ ordination Mass at Holy Cross Church in DeWitt June 3. Family, friends, parishioners, and well-wishers filled the pews.
With the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception unavailable due to ongoing restoration, it was fitting for Father Lyons to be ordained at Holy Cross.
“It comes full circle,” he said during an interview with the Sun two days before his ordination.
Father Lyons spent his pastoral year ministering at the parish, and he spent last summer there as well, ministering as a deacon. “I’m finishing up where I spent so much of my formation and grew a lot,” he said.
Father Lyons’ journey to the priesthood began long before his time at Holy Cross, however. As a child growing up in Endicott, his family attended St. Joseph’s Church. His father would also bring him to the early morning Mass at nearby St. Casimir’s Church. Seeing the priests who served in the parishes — Father Mark Pasik, Father James Serowik, Father Charles Opondo-Owora — living out their priesthoods had an impact on him.
Father Lyons first thought about the priesthood when he was five, he recalled. “Just going there [to Mass] each week and having people ask you, as a little kid, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ That thought hit me there.”
The thought grew strong after his Confirmation in tenth grade. “You can see grace at work,” Father Lyons said. He started reading a lot about the Catholic Church and praying more seriously. Still, “I was thinking about it, just resisting it,” he said.