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“A New Man, a New Creation”

Fr. James Houbeck becomes tenth member of 2017 class to be ordained to the priesthood.

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

On Saturday, October 7 parishioners of the Church of the Holy Family in Novi, Michigan, celebrated with great joy the priestly ordination of Father James Houbeck. In the presence of Sacred Heart community, family, friends, and fellow clergy, Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, archbishop of Detroit, conferred the sacrament of holy orders.

Unlike his fellow Detroit classmates—who celebrated their ordinations over the summer at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament—Fr. Houbeck's ordination took place at the Church of the Holy Family, where he is assigned to serve as the associate pastor. Months prior to the ordination, Holy Family parish underwent extensive renovation of the interior of the church. The renovation finished just in time to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Orders 

“One of the first things I marveled at was the new church, how beautiful it was to see it filled with people and priests... I thank God for the hard working people that helped create something new and beautiful,” said Fr. Houbeck. “And then to celebrate a priestly ordination, which had never happened at Holy Family before, it was very humbling.”

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

Fr. Houbek earned a Master of Divinity degree from Sacred Heart and a graduate-level Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree (STB). He attributed Sacred Heart’s priests and formation team for being both “truthful and charitable” about helping him to identify things he needed to address before entering into the Order of the Presbyterate. 

Fr. Houbeck spent a pastoral year at a parish in Pontiac, Michigan, where he gained practical experience and time for theological reflection. It proved to be a very important time to discern his vocation. Fr. Houbeck explained, “My pastoral year was very fruitful, it was very formative, and when I returned I came back not only with a greater sense of peace, but a greater understanding of who I am and who God created me to be.” 

Fr. Houbeck expressed his desire to be a confessor and an “agent” through which God forgives sins. The Sacrament of Reconciliation attracted Fr. Houbeck to the priesthood, allowing him to serve people when they’re most vulnerable. “That is my great desire, to be a faithful confessor, but one who is merciful and willing to help people to see that with God’s grace, they can amend their life,” said Fr. Houbeck.

In front of the packed church, Fr. Houbeck made his final vows of obedience to Archbishop Vigneron before the archbishop laid his hands on him, a practice which dates back to the earliest days of the Church. Fr. Houbeck recalled the moment he was officially ordained to the priesthood. “When I knelt down before Archbishop Vigneron, I knew I was kneeling down as Deacon James Houbeck, and when he laid his hands on my head, I can’t describe it, but I knew for certain that this is who God created me to be, to be a priest. And I stood up Father James Houbeck—a new man, a new creation—overjoyed and yet still very humbled at what God did.”

MOSAIC Editorial Team

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.