Bishop Persico ordains Father Luke Daghir to the priesthood

Anne-Marie Welsh

Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico confers ordination on Father
Luke Daghir through the laying on of hands. Photo/Anne-
Marie Welsh

ERIE — “He’s full of excitement,” Roben Daghir said of her son, Father Luke Daghir, as she stood in a swirl of family and friends immediately following Father Luke’s ordination. “He’s an energetic young person and he just has so much to give. He’s going to be a blessing, no matter where they place him.”

Deacon Luke Daghir arrives
on the steps of St. Peter
Cathedral for his ordination.
Photo/AM Welsh

          Where they’ve placed him is St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Erie, an assignment he will begin on July 9. But before looking to that future, the Diocese of EriE-News offers an opportunity to revisit and savor the presbyteral ordination of Father Luke Daghir.  

          Erie’s weather can be dicey in May, but blue skies and temperatures in the mid- 60s on Friday, May 24, meant there was

no question the procession into ordination would begin outside of St. Peter Cathedral. The Knights of Columbus led deacons and priests from across the diocese and beyond through an assembly of people who had traveled from every corner of the diocese to participate in the ordination Mass. As the liturgy began, Deacon Luke Daghir, a native of Sacred Heart Parish in St. Marys, took his place in the front row, seated next to his parents and family members.

         ‘Holy Mother Church asks you to ordain this man, our brother, to the responsibility of the priesthood,” Father Scott Jabo, rector of St. Mark Seminary, said from the pulpit after the Gospel was read. 

         “Do you know him to be worthy?” the Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, asked.

          “After inquiry among the Christian people, and upon the recommendation of those concerned with his formation, I testify that he has been found worthy,” Father Jabo replied.

          “Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose our brother for the order of the priesthood,” Bishop Persico said. 

Father Scott Jabo presents Deacon Daghir to Bishop Lawrence
Persico as a candidate for ordination. Photo/Kristine Rilling

         Responding, “Thanks be to God,” the assembly then broke out into applause for the first of several times during the evening.

          Deacon Daghir was then seated before Bishop Persico, who sat in the cathedra, the chair signifying his authority as bishop, offering his homily directly to the ordinand.

          “Luke, on behalf of the church of Erie, I thank you for saying ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call to serve his church as a priest,” the bishop said, before referring to the three readings that had been selected for the day.

          “Each passage reveals the recognition that on our own, we are ill-equipped and inadequate to do the work of God — Moses, Paul, Peter, you and me,” he said. “Yet, through baptism and our response to his call, we are assured of God’s abiding presence as we assume our role in the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel.” Bishop Persico then said that while God has made his entire people a royal priesthood in Christ, Jesus chooses certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name the priestly office in the church. 

          “Today, Luke, he calls you to that office,” Bishop Persico continued. “He calls you to shepherd his people in a

Bishop Lawrence Persico and all those present offer the Litany of Supplication during the ordination
rite.  Photo/Kristine Rilling

unique manner, patterned on his own life of service and sacrifice.” He then encouraged Deacon Luke to “trust in the grace of God present to you in this sacrament,” remembering that “when you teach in the name of Christ the teacher — when you work for justice, truth and freedom — when you comfort the sick and the dying — when you serve the poor — and when you celebrate the sacraments and particularly the Eucharist —  you are both a servant of the church and a member of the People of God.”

          Bishop Persico urged Deacon Luke to remember that throughout his priesthood he would need God’s continued presence, life and mercy, before concluding with words of encouragement.

          “The People of God will look to see Jesus in the fruits of your prayer — in your words of forgiveness and encouragement — in your work — in the simplicity of your life — and in the Eucharist you celebrate for and with them,” he said, promising that in return, “they will love you, they will walk with you, they will support you, and they will enable you to proclaim with an ever deepening sense of certainty the words of Peter spoken to Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’” 

          The Rite of Ordination then continued with the promise of the elect, during which Deacon Daghir promised to be faithful to the bishop, the People of God, the worship life of the church the Gospel and Jesus Christ. He then promised obedience to the bishop and his successors.

          After the Litany of Supplication, during which the assembly asked God and dozens of saints to intercede on behalf of Deacon Luke as he lay before the altar, Bishop Persico rose as the candidate knelt before him. In silence, the bishop laid his hands on the elect. Each priest present then did the same, signifying the spirit they share as priests. This moment was followed by the Prayer of Ordination, which, along with the laying on of hands by the bishop, constitutes the most solemn moment of the ordination ceremony. Together, these two aspects of the rite signify the conferral and reception of the sacrament of holy orders. 

Father Ben Daghir, ordained in 2022, vests his twin brother with his
stole and chasuble. Photo/
Kristine Rilling

         Father Daghir then participated in the investiture with the stole and chasuble. Always a special moment between the new priest and the man whom he has selected as his “sponsoring priest,” this was a particularly meaningful occasion as it was his twin brother, Father Benjamin Daghir, ordained in 2022, who had the honor.

         “Jesus loves to call brothers,” Father Ben Daghir said in an interview with the Diocese of EriE-News prior to the ordination. Acknowledging their experience is about more than the two of them, Father Ben noted there is a very important prerequisite to Jesus calling brothers.

          “We should ask, ‘What were Simon and Andrew's parents like? What were their other siblings like? What were their extended family, friends, and neighbors like?’” he said. “Luke and I know that strong families, strong friends and strong communities often provide the environment in which Jesus calls brothers to follow him. The Lord has worked through our parents, Joe and Roben, younger brother Nick, extended family and friends, and parish and school communities.” 

          The Rite of Ordination continued as Bishop Persico anointed Father Luke’s hands with sacred Chrism, signifying the priest’s distinctive participation in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. The bishop then extended the chalice to Father Luke, calling him to imitate the meaning of the gifts, before offering him the fraternal kiss of peace. Several other priests were invited to share the kiss of peace as a sign of Father Luke’s reception into the presbyterate, the ministry they share in the priestly order.

          The Mass then continued with Bishop Persico as principal celebrant, joined on the altar by all of the priests in attendance. Father Luke and Father Ben stood side-by-side among the presbyterate.

          “It was beautiful to see the two of them, together, standing at the top of the stairs,” Roben Daghir, their mother,

Father Luke Daghir blesses his parents, Roben
and Joe, as his brother, Nicholas, looks on. Photo/
Kristine Rilling.

said, after Mass. “It was really touching.”

          Their father, Joe Daghir, agreed.

          “It was a blessing,” he said. “You could see it in their faces and eyes. Christ is with them. This whole town, this whole place. It’s beautiful.”

          Just before Mass concluded, Bishop Persico knelt on a prie-dieu in front of the altar in order to receive Father Luke’s first blessing. He then kissed the hands of the new priest.

          Father Luke was then escorted to his parents to offer his second blessing. Both Roben and Joe reached out to embrace their son as he blessed them, the family united in a moment unlike any other. Judging by the dozens of heart-felt Facebook comments under the photo of this moment, it continues to inspire.

          The assembly heartily joined the choir for the recessional hymn, O God, Beyond All Praising, with applause rippling through the crowd as Father Luke Daghir processed down the aisle.  

          Father Luke traveled back to St. Marys for his first Mass on Sunday, May 26, and will spend a few weeks with family and friends, also attending his classmates’ ordinations, before beginning his assignment as parochial vicar at St. Jude Parish in Erie.

          The Mass may have ended, and all may have gone forth in peace. But throughout the summer and beyond, the recessional hymn will reverberate in many across the diocese: For we can only wonder at every gift you send, at blessing without number and mercies without end.

 A livestream of the presbyteral ordination Mass can be found on the site of St. Peter Cathedral at