Thursday we will take time to honor those who have served and those who will serve. Priests of the Diocese of Dallas will gather at Holy Trinity Seminary for a pre-ordination celebration for the three deacons to be ordained to the priesthood on July 16. We will also salute those who are marking special anniversaries of ordination and a lifetime of service in ministry.
Our three ordinands represent the cultural diversity of the Diocese of Dallas and the Universal Church. Deacon James Yamauchi is of Japanese-American heritage. Deacon Alan McDonald is from England and Deacon Arthur Unachukwu was born in Nigeria. Deacon McDonald will be the first student from Redemptoris Mater Diocesan Missionary Seminary to be ordained to the priesthood. Deacon Yamauchi attended Holy Trinity Seminary and North American Pontifical Seminary in Rome. Deacon Unachukwu also attended Holy Trinity Seminary and did his theological studies at St. Mary Seminary in Houston.
Three priests will also be honored, two for significant ordination anniversaries and one for reaching the venerable age of fourscore and ten.
Reverend Monsignor James Balint celebrates 50 years of priestly ministry this year. Before retring last year after serving 19 years as the founding pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Plano, Monsignor Balint had served as a parish priest, seminary professor and high school chaplain. He served 25 years as a U.S. Air Force Chaplain, retiring in 1990 as a full colonel.
Very Rev. David J. Flori, pastor of St. Paul Parish, Richardson, is marking his 25th anniversary of priestly ordination. Father Flori served as parochial vicar at St. Monica Parish, St. Philip Parish and St. Paul before being named pastor of St. Philip in 1991. In 1997 he was appointed pastor of St. Paul Parish in Richardson. In 2001 Father Flori was named Dean of Deanery 5.
Reverend Monsignor Thomas W. Weinzapfel will celebrate his 90th birthday next month and last December marked 65 years of priestly ministry. Since his ordination in December of 1945, he served parishes in Texarkana, Valley View and Dallas before his appointment as pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Dallas in 1956, a position he held for 40 years before his retirement in 1996. Monsignor Weinzapfel also served as business manager of our diocesan newspaper, The Texas Catholic, and as a member of the Diocesan Consultors.
Our celebration truly highlights the panorama of priestly life from ordination to retirement as we honor these six men.
We wish ad multos annos, many years, to Monsignor Weinzapfel. We offer our felicitations and gratitude to Monsignor Balint and Father Flori on their anniversaries and we congratulate and promise our prayers and blessing to our three ordinands.