Parents reflect on the journeys taken by newly ordained sons, ministry ahead

In a special moment for them both, Father Ignacio Cárdenas Morán gives Communion to his mother, Silvia Morán Moya, who traveled from Mexico to be at her son's ordination on May 27 at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

By Paul Thomas Moore

The various parental reactions to the ordination of their sons were like the different notes that make up a musical chord — retaining their individuality, yet in perfect harmonic agreement.

Speaking through an interpreter, Father Ignacio Cárdenas Morán’s mother, Silvia Morán Moya, said the ordination was a “beautiful moment for my son and the other young men who are now priests.”

She said there were hints that her son would become a priest as early as 9 years old.

”I thank God to have a son who is a priest. . . . God gave him what he always wanted.” — Silvia Morán Moya

“He had an uncle who was a priest and he said, ‘I want to be like him when I grow up,’” she told The Catholic Post, adding he also would play priest with the other kids and make the other kids process around.

”I thank God to have a son who is a priest,” she said. More than anything, she felt happy for her son, “Because God gave him what he always wanted.”

While some parents saw the priesthood coming for their boys, others definitely did not. Father Daniel Dionesotes’ parents, Dave and Leann, were in the latter camp.

“He was a typical boy — he did the sports thing, the goofing around thing, the squirrely thing. If you would have known him then to what he is now, you would think this would never have happened,” Dave said. Leann added, “Actually, he was a lot to control when he was younger, especially at church.”

As a result, they moved to the very front pew at Holy Trinity in Bloomington, and said, “That’s when he started connecting more at Mass. Just being able to see it up close and personal — that made the difference.”

In hindsight, Dave said the path that would lead his son to the priesthood become more noticeable in high school and early college, when “God became a little more centered in his life.”


Bob Wille said he wasn’t particularly surprised to hear that his son, Father Patrick Wille, had a vocation, even though he was on a career track with Boeing. “He had given some indications about discernment.”

His mother, Mary Therese, was initially surprised, but said as she looks back she can see how the pieces of the vocational puzzle fit together. Instead of “doing big things for Boeing,” now her son will do bigger things because “He wants everybody to be a saint, and he wants to save souls.”

“When he was vested and standing there, I just turned to my wife and I started to cry. ‘We have a priest.'” — Bob Wille

Whatever their varying levels of initial surprise over their son’s vocation decision, Bob and Mary Therese were equally overcome — in the most wonderfully welcome way — by his ordination day. “When he was vested and standing there, I just turned to my wife and I started to cry. ‘We have a priest,”’ said Bob.

“We’re just thrilled and overjoyed with the fact that God chose him,” said Mary Therese.

Father Nathan Hopper’s parents, Wayne and Dee, didn’t have much doubt about his direction. As long as they could remember he had a “deep-rooted spirituality,” Dee said.

Wayne added that he started going to adoration in high school and, “It was his choice. He embraced that.”

Though health challenges through his teen and early college years necessitated several corrective surgeries, his parents saw how deep his faith truly ran.

In the hospital recovering from his own surgery, Nathan asked nurses to take him to see a little girl who was also in recovery. He wanted to tell her that he was praying for her.

“And I thought, ‘Oh my goodness,’” Dee said. That’s when she knew.

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