On Saturday, June 17, 2017, Friar Andrew HOCHSTEDLER, OFM Conv., was ordained a priest at the Basilica of St. Anthony in Istanbul, Turkey.
This significant occasion was attended by friars from the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land, a Custody of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. The Custody belongs to the Province of St. Joseph Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania. Other participants included friars from Italy, Croatia, France and the United States; priests of the Apostolic Vicariate of Istanbul together with the Most Reverend Rubén Tierrablanca Gonzalez, OFM, Vicar Apostolic of Istanbul; plus family and friends of Friar Andrew.
The Mass was presided over by the Most Reverend Cesar ESSAYAN, OFM Conv., Bishop of Beirut and former Custos of the Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land. It was during his time as Custos that Friar Cesar first guided the newly ordained on his vocational journey. Now as a Bishop, he imposed his hands on Friar Andrew and conferred Sacred Orders upon him.
Before the Mass, there was a moment of interior preparation. Guests, tourists and music lovers were treated to a concert by Romanian organist Eduard ANTAL. His playing created a joyful atmosphere which was conducive to the celebration.
At the beginning of the Mass, Friar Martin KMETEC, the Vicar Custos, welcomed everyone and gave thanks to the Lord for the gift that Friar Andrew has been to the Custody. At the same time he stressed that there had never been a priestly ordination in this basilica before. In his homily, Bishop ESSAYAN mentioned Pope Francis’ message of June 10, 2017: “Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives.” In fact, recalling St. Maximilian Maria KOLBE, who gave his life to save another life in 1941, in Auschwitz, the Bishop of Beirut invited Friar Andrew to consider this example: being a priest is a grace from the Lord but at the same time this grace, this gift, becomes a gift to others.
Friar Andrew HOCHSTEDLER was born on July 20, 1983, in Istanbul, to a Protestant family. In 2008, after having worked for three years as a journalist, he started his vocational journey at the St. Anthony friary in Istanbul. From there, he entered the postulancy program in Brescia, Italy. He studied philosophy at the Theological Institute of Assisi and studied theology at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure (Seraphicum) in Rome. Friar Andrew professed his solemn vows in the Order of Friars Minor Conventual at the Basilica of St. Anthony, in Istanbul, on September 13, 2014. He was ordained a deacon in the parish of Saint Antoine in Beirut, on December 4, 2016.
friar Lucian ABALINTOAIEI, OFM Conv.