The Catholic University of America

June 16, 2010

Two CUA Graduates to Be Ordained Priests in the Archdiocese of Washington

  Ismael Ayala

A former college admissions director and a former Capitol Hill staffer are among eight men to be ordained priests this weekend in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

Ismael Ayala and Harry Stokes, deacons who completed education and formation at CUA’s national seminary, Theological College, will be ordained by Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington and CUA chancellor, at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 19, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“I've thought about priesthood ever since I was age 5 and the thought about priesthood lingered through high school, college, and while I worked,” says Ayala, who was director of admissions at Hood College in Frederick, Md., where he earlier earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“Since entering seminary five years ago,” he says, “I've been looking forward to being able to bring others closer to Christ and, likewise, bringing Christ to the faithful, especially through the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist.”

Ayala, 35, who received a Master of Divinity degree from Catholic University in May, assisted with eighth-grade religious education and Mass at St. Andrew Apostle Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Md., for the past two years. During his formation at Theological College, he also worked with his home parish, St. Paul Catholic Church in Damascus, Md., and was assigned to St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Prince Frederick, Md., and St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Md.

On Sunday, June 20, he will celebrate his first Mass at St. Paul Church.

Harry Stokes  

Stokes, 35, of Cape May, N.J., describes his ordination as “the culmination of a lifetime of prayer and discernment where the Church gathers in the name of Christ to affirm to the whole world that he is alive and that his ministry thrives through his dedicated and holy priests.”

During his formation at Theological College, Stokes worked with St. Raphael Catholic Church in Rockville, Md., St. Peter’s Church in Waldorf, Md., and Little Flower Parish in Bethesda, Md.

Before earning a Master of Divinity degree from CUA in May, he worked in the U.S. House of Representatives and for the Small Business Administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and public relations from Xavier University in Cincinnati.

In the evening of Saturday, June 19, he will celebrate his first Mass at Holy Rosary Church in Washington.

Stokes and Ayala are among seven graduates of CUA and Theological College being ordained this spring, including:

  • Corey Campeaux, Diocese of Lafayette, La.
  • Thomas Gillespie, Diocese of Pittsburgh
  • Lutakome Nsubuga, Diocese of Spokane, Wash.
  • Jared Suire, Diocese of Lafayette
  • Jon-Peter Thomas, Diocese of Camden, N.J.

Theological College, administered by the priests of the Society of St. Sulpice in affiliation with CUA, is one of the oldest Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States.

MEDIA: For more information, contact Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600. 

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