Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia returned to Denver to ordain to the priesthood his Capuchin confrere and distant cousin, Fr. Christopher Gama, at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community, Arvada, May 30th
0296 crop Fr. Gama, the son of Sally and Jim Pagano of Monument and Phillip and Lalla Gama of Pueblo, began formation with the Capuchins in St.Louis in 2003 and made first profession of vows in 2005. A graduate of St. John Vianney Seminary, Denver, he served his deacon internship this past year at Spirit of Christ. During the ordination ceremonies, Archbishop Chaput said Fr. Gama would leave the ceremony a different person than when he came in. Not so much because of his having received a great honor, but more so because God in an audacious act chose to make himself present to men and women through one of their own. The archbishop noted that Fr. Gama would now have the awesome responsibility through word and example of calling all of God's people to make Christ present to the world. Prominently displayed during the ordination ceremonies was a first-class relic of St. Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon (1199-1252), a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi and member of the Secular Franciscan Order. Only after the ordination had been scheduled for May 30, did Gama learn that that day would be the Feast of St. Ferdinand, patron of civil engineers. Gama was only one semester shy of a civil engineering degree when he discerned calls to the religious life and priesthood. But there were still two more surprises in store for him. He next learned that he is directly descended from St. Ferdinand and, to make the coincidence even more remarkable, so is Archbishop Chaput. Father celebrated his First Mass at Spirit of Christ on May 31 and will be stationed at Solanus Casey Friary in Colorado Springs, where he will serve as assistant director of postulants for the Capuchins and engage in other pastoral ministry still pending.