SAN ANGELO — What does it mean to be a servant? My first thought was that we are all called to be servants (c.f. Mark 9:35). For a priest to serve his brothers and sisters flows from his baptismal character that we all share in. Fr. Barry McLean embodied this universal call to service.
I recall once needing a ride to San Angelo for a seminarian gathering. Father Barry told me that he would be willing to drive from Abilene to Odessa to pick me up and get me to San Angelo. His willingness to serve, flowing from his baptismal character, manifested itself exponentially through his priestly identity as spouse. It was out of his love for the Church (and therefore its members) that moved Fr. Barry to action. The universal call to serve was, therefore, actualized and exalted through the grace of his ordination.
The priest, while participating in the universal call to service, is engaged in some type of “super-service” through his administering of the sacraments. Fr. Robert Barron, rector-designate of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, reminds his seminarians that the priest is always standing on the edge of mystery. The priesthood, therefore, is always pointing to something that is “larger than this life.” In his administering the sacraments, the priest is making visible (although veiled) an invisible reality. By administering the sacraments, the priest is allowing the faithful to participate with grace that makes them more human. Fr. Barry, therefore, also participated uniquely through his priestly office in the service of God and man through the sacraments.