Fr. Kris Schmidt (left) prays the Eucharistic prayer during his Mass of Ordination June 27 at St. Joseph's Basilica as Fr. Paul Kavanagh, master of ceremonies for the Mass, looks on.


Fr. Kris Schmidt (left) prays the Eucharistic prayer during his Mass of Ordination June 27 at St. Joseph's Basilica as Fr. Paul Kavanagh, master of ceremonies for the Mass, looks on.

July 7, 2014

In a joyous celebration at St. Joseph Basilica, Archbishop Richard Smith ordained Kristopher Schmidt and Joachim Ostermann to the ministerial priesthood June 27.

The standing-room-only congregation erupted in applause as Smith concluded the ordination ritual and welcomed the pair into the priestly fold. One by one, dozens of priests from across the archdiocese embraced the two new priests in a gesture of welcome and solidarity.

"Kris and Joachim, at a certain point in your own personal histories, you were brought to the realization that Jesus had set his heart upon you, and had chosen you to serve his beloved people through the sacred office of the ministerial priesthood," Smith said, looking directly at the new priests.

"By God's grace, you, in turn, have set your heart on Jesus and on following him through this particular service of the Church. This bond of love is the very centre and engine of the priest's life and ministry.

"Communion with his heart will transform your own and enable you to love and serve no longer with your own heart but with his."

The archbishop noted that Jesus dealt tenderly with the sinful and suffering, and he urged Schmidt and Ostermann to follow in his footsteps by being always gentle with the wounded who seek the healing of Christ.

"As his heart was pierced by the sins of humanity and broken by our indifference, so too will yours be whenever the Gospel is rejected," he said.

Also ordained June 27 was Franciscan Fr. Joachim Ostermann.


Also ordained June 27 was Franciscan Fr. Joachim Ostermann.

"However, the inevitable pain that touches the heart of a priest will be far outweighed by the immeasurable joy that comes from serving Jesus as the instrument of his transformative grace."


Following the ordination, the two new priests joined Smith in the celebration of the Eucharist. After Mass, the pair went down to the basilica's hall to welcome well-wishers and give them their priestly blessing.

Schmidt had a lengthy lineup of well-wishers, many of them young people who wanted to congratulate him.

"I feel overwhelmed but it's a joyous day," he told the WCR. "I'm in the image of Christ the priest. It's a beautiful joy."

Ostermann said he felt blessed to have been ordained.

"It's a wonderful blessing to be in service like this," he told the WCR. "It's exhausting; it's very tiring but it's a happy moment, a blessed moment and I very much look forward to serving as a priest."

Ostermann, now in his 50s, is a native of Germany who left the world of biotechnology to become a Franciscan brother and then a priest.

Smith has appointed him associate pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sherwood Park, the same parish where he has been serving as pastoral assistant and transitional deacon for the past year.

Schmidt, 28, who abandoned dreams of becoming a medical doctor and a husband to follow his priestly calling, has been appointed associate pastor at St. Joseph's Basilica.

Stephen Gallard and his wife Jane Sampson, both Anglican, were among many of Ostermann's friends at the ordination ceremony.

"I think the priesthood fits him perfectly and his heart is in it," said Gallard. "He's always been a great person to be around, very consoling. He's just a great spirit and you can talk to him about anything."

Sampson, assistant ecumenical officer with the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton and a classmate of Ostermann at Newman Theological College, said she was rejoicing that

Ostermann is now a priest.


"He has leadership but also humility and a real spirit of service," she said. "He is a true Franciscan."

Pat Mayo, another good friend of Ostermann, said the Franciscan is going to be "an absolutely wonderful priest."

"He is going to preach the Gospel and he is going to change the world," Mayo said.

"One thing I like about Joachim is he has no guile. He is just earnest, he is true and he is open and honest and I think that's why the Lord can work through him so well."

Schmidt had family from Edmonton, Quebec and Grand Cache at the ordination.

"I'm kind of overwhelmed at the moment but extremely proud of him," said the new priest's younger brother Marc, 20. "I never thought he would become a priest. I pictured him as a great dad with kids, but I'm sure he will do a great job at this too."

Schmidt's father, Phil Schmidt, said he felt "totally blessed" to be sharing his son with the greater Catholic community. "It's a moment of great happiness."