On May 26, 2012, at Annunciation Catholic Church of Denver, Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M.Cap. of Philadelphia ordained Brother Christopher Gama, O.F.M.Cap to the diaconate and Deacon Joseph Mary Elder, O.F.M.Cap. to the priesthood.
A capacity crowd filled the historic Church (1883), a home parish to the Capuchins who serve the needs of the inner city. Capuchin friars traveled from various locations where they minister in Kansas and Colorado. Brother Mark Schenk, O.F.M.Cap., from Rome, represented the worldwide Capuchin fraternity.
Archbishop Chaput laid hands on Deacon Joseph Mary ordaining him priest, and then as part of the prayer of consecration prayed, “Almighty Father, grant to this servant of yours the dignity of the priesthood. Renew within him the Spirit of holiness. As a co-worker with the order of bishops may he be faithful to the ministry that he receives from you, Lord God.”
As deacon, Fr. Joseph Mary has served for several years as youth minister at Annunciation Catholic Church in north Denver. He is fluent in Spanish and has celebrated numerous baptisms in Spanish and English as well preaching and assisting at parish liturgies. Fr. Joseph Mary is very popular with young people and his future work will include being a Vocation Director for Colorado and the western focus of the Capuchin Province of Mid-America. Fr. Joseph Mary will live at St. Anthony of Padua Friary in Denver and he will assist Fr. Bill Kraus with prison ministry as well as helping at Notre Dame Parish.
Fr. Joseph was born in Florissant, Mo., in 1977. His parents, Cheryl and Bruce Elder from St. Louis are active supporters of the Capuchins. Father Joseph is a life-long product of Catholic Schools. Before entering St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver in 2006, he studied theology at St. Paul Institute in St. Louis. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1999 with a degree in English.
Father Joseph is a web and internet guru. This is one of his pulpits for staying in touch with youth. He is a web designer for his own Capuchin Province (capuchins.org) and for the Capuchin Poor Clare Sisters at Our Lady of Light Monastery (capuchinpoorclares.org).
These two young Capuchin brothers are known for their lively spirits and for their deep spiritual life.
In ordaining Brother Christopher as deacon, Archbishop Chaput proclaimed, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”
Born in 1980 in Pueblo, Colorado, Brother Christopher Gama joined the Capuchin Franciscans in 2004. As a young man, Christopher was a basketball champ at South High School in Pueblo and declined a congressional nomination to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD to enter the Capuchins.
Besides inner-city ministries with the poor Brother Christopher has been active in evangelization and youth ministry. He studied Spanish in college.
In this next step toward ordination to the priesthood, Deacon Christopher will work at Spirit of Christ Parish in Arvada, CO under the direction of Fr. David Bluejacket. Deacon Christopher will celebrate Baptisms, weddings and funerals as well as preach.
The Capuchins have seven young brothers in formation and several to begin a postulancy this summer.