On the morning of Nov. 10, Brother Clement Rees, OSB, was ordained into the Priesthood. The ordination mass took place at the Saint Leo Abbey Church. Br. Clement, now Father Clement, was joined by Abbot Isaac Camacho, OSB, and Bishop Robert Lynch, several monks, the University’s chorus, Dr. William Lennox, Jr., and countless others to celebrate Fr. Clement’s ordination. The mass was filled with worship, music, and a strong presence of community.
“I feel a wonderful joy as well as a special unity with God as a servant coworker,” said Fr. Clement. “I had been conscious for quite some time of the graces I had been receiving through people’s prayers for me. I was full of joy and at peace during the ordination.”
Fr. Clement, who had previously been a monk at the Saint Leo Abbey since March of 2008, obtained his Master’s Degree in Theology from the University in 2012. Well known in the University community for his hard-working nature, friendliness, and devotion to his beliefs, Father Clement decided to answer the call of the Priesthood.
“The journey to ordination is an arduous one. One encounters numerous reckoning moments in which one must reconcile with the task they are approaching and with the person of Jesus. In our weaknesses we have to ask and receive the help only He can give,” said Fr. Clement.
In addition to his ordination into the Priesthood, Fr. Rees is the Prior of the Saint Leo Abbey; Fr. Clement works directly with Abbot Camacho as a helper. Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg carried out the actual ordination.
“Bishop Robert was really great. His presence gave me comfort and courage as I entered the Priesthood,” said Fr. Clement.
“We rejoice appropriately, but more importantly, we thank God this morning that another source of Eucharistic grace has been found in this community, where you, Clement, sit so clearly and firmly present,” said Bishop Lynch to Fr. Clement during the ordination.
Jahiedy Vinas, senior and a member of the University Ministry, looks up to Fr. Clement and is excited for his ordination into the Priesthood. She was in charge of the Grotto Restoration Project, which Fr. Clement was also a part of in September 2015.
“[He’s] another spiritual adviser; someone with wisdom and humility,” said Vinas. “He’s so patient, caring, and understanding. [I was told] that I should count on him because he would get things done. I really enjoyed working with him, and look forward to working with him further.”
Now that he is a priest, Fr. Clement will have more opportunities to serve the University community. He hopes to continually support Abbot Camacho and the Saint Leo Abbey in his journey to serve under God. He wanted to deliver the following message to the University community following his ordination:
“Jesus is a very real person whom you may not recognize within you. He knows you. Do you know him? Maybe not so much. Trust him and do things for him and you will find him there. Trust that he is within you and he will lead you in life and as arduous as that may be it will be a life of love and joy that only God can give. It is the only kind of life worthy of you. Talk with him as an honored person standing with you and you will find your way,” said Fr. Clement.