Trinidadian Rev Mikhail Woodruffe O Carm was ordained a Carmelite priest last Saturday, May 30 at a scaled-down ordination ceremony at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Middletown, New York, USA.
The ordaining prelate was Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Colacicco of the Archdiocese of New York for whom this was his first time presiding at an Ordination since being ordained a bishop in October. Also ordained to the priesthood at this ceremony was Fr Paul Richmond O Carm from New York, Fr Woodruffe’s classmate.
Principal concelebrants were Fr Mario Esposito O Carm, Prior Provincial and Fr Quinn Conners O Carm who was Fr Woodruffe’s formator for the past four years.
The New York State restrictions and safety regulations due to the pandemic meant the Shrine and the Mass were closed to the general public, but Carmelite clergy and close family of Fr Richmond physically distanced themselves as they sat in pews.
Fr Woodruffe’s priestly ordination was initially carded to take place in Trinidad before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Fr Woodruffe’s family, friends and many local Carmelites could not be present. A livestream of the Mass was made available and can still be viewed on YouTube at the link available on the Facebook page ‘Trinidad Carmelite Friars’.
Contacted via email, Fr Woodruffe described the experience of being ordained during a pandemic as “holding two ends of profound joy in a priestly call realised, and the experiences of loss and distance that we all experience in different ways in this time”.
He said he was touched by Bishop Colacicco’s opening comments that the challenging circumstances reminds us that there is no distance to those who are close to our hearts, and that God is always near us.
Fr Woodruffe expressed thanks to the many persons who have supported him in his vocational journey. He made special mention of his mother Yvette, siblings Mariella and Marlon, relatives, Carmelite brothers and sisters, close friends and members of parishes and groups he has been associated with, particularly at St Michael’s parish, Maracas Valley and St Martin of Tours parish, Washington DC.
Fr Woodruffe will celebrate his Mass of Thanksgiving this Sunday, June 7 at 9.30 a.m. at Whitefriars Hall, the Carmelite house of theological studies in Washington DC. The Mass will be closed to the public but livestreamed and available for later viewing at the Carmelite Friars Facebook page.
Fr Woodruffe told Catholic News that he “looks forward with anticipation” to celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving in Trinidad when conditions and safety allows.