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Deacon Andrew Ginter processes in St. Mary’s Cathedral on June 4 to begin his Mass of priestly ordination. In his homily following the sacrament, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said Father Ginter’s parents and family played a key role i

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Novato’s Andrew Ginter ordained to priesthood
June 7th, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz

“Relying on the help of the Lord God and our savior Jesus Christ, we choose Andrew, our brother, for the order of the priesthood.”

With those words, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone began the sacrament of ordination to the priesthood of Deacon Andrew Ginter, 29, at St. Mary’s Cathedral June 4. Within the hour, Father Ginter celebrated Mass on the altar with the archbishop, and then walked out of the cathedral to rousing applause from a congregation that bubbled with good will and joy for the newly ordained priest.

“How is it that a young man discerns a call to the priesthood?” Archbishop Cordileone asked in his homily and went on to cite mentors, including recently deceased St. Anthony of Padua pastor Father Kevin Gaffey who had a large influence on Father Ginter, other priests, St. Patrick Seminary & University professors, and most of all Father Ginter’s parents and family. “A young person’s response to a religious vocation is a sign that something has gone right in one’s family life,” Archbishop Cordileone said.

“It’s a calling,” said Father Ginter’s father Kurt Ginter, in a conversation after the ordination. “My mom passed away. She’s beaming now. My sisters who passed away, I am sure they are up there having a party.”

“We’re proud,” said Ginter. “He’ll make the world a better place. What more can a parent ask for?”

And with Father Ginter’s first assignment at St. Hilary Parish, 15 minutes from the Ginters’ home, “We know where we’re going to Mass on Sunday!” Ginter said.

The priest’s call comes from God, the archbishop said in his homily. “God plants one’s vocation in one’s heart. It is as much a part of what one is as one’s DNA. Our part is to discern it, to choose and pursue it,” Archbishop Cordileone said. Noting June 4 was the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Archbishop Cordileone said the Blessed Mother has a special role to play in the lives of priests who are sharing in the priesthood of her divine son.

“All priests need to look to Mary for example, for guidance, to help them achieve the virtues of the Good Shepherd,” he said.

“Andrew you are a true son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” the archbishop said. “Look to her to guide your every step of the way as you now embark upon sharing the priesthood of her son.’

Father Ginter’s mother, father and sister were joined by about 20 relatives from as far away as Syracuse, New York and Florida, in the cathedral, as well as parishioners from St. Anthony of Padua in Novato where Father Ginter grew up, future parishioners of St. Hilary in Tiburon, and many others.

“When he decided to become a priest, I think I was the first person he told,” said John Howell, Father Ginter’s godfather and uncle, who said the two were relaxing in the hot tub in Novato around the time Father Ginter graduated from Sonoma State University. “He’s just a regular guy. That’s what surprised me so much. He’s pretty charismatic, always has been. I’m very proud of him today.”

“He was in the youth group with my son at St. Anthony’s,” said Janice Woerner, wiping tears from her face after she and her husband were blessed by Father Ginter during the reception held afterward, saying “he has an energy that just bubbles out of him, of his love. It’s just charismatic.”

From June 9, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

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