By Colleen Rowan WHEELING—Bishop Michael J. Bransfield will ordain Rev. Mr. Martin Smay to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling at 11 a.m. June 30. Deacon Smay will stand before Bishop Bransfield and promise to serve the people of God as a priest. As he kneels before the altar, the bishop will lay his hands upon his head, calling upon the Holy Spirit to ordain him a priest. The bishop will then pray the prayer of ordination.
“I’m excited to be ordained a priest,” Deacon Smay said, “and to celebrate the sacraments which our Lord instituted and gave to the church for the worship of God and the sanctification of his people.” Deacon Smay, 29, will be vested with the stole and chasuble by vocations director and long-time friend of the Smay family, Father Dennis R. Schuelkens, Jr. He will then kneel before the bishop, who will anoint his palms with holy chrism. The bishop will then present to him the paten of bread and chalice of wine. A product of Catholic schools, Deacon Smay was baptized and confirmed at Sacred Heart of Mary Parish in Weirton and attended kindergarten through sixth-grade at Sacred Heart of Mary School. He is a graduate of St. Paul School in Weirton and Central Catholic High School in Wheeling. Smay received a degree in mining engineering from West Virginia University. He was employed by CONSOL Energy at McElroy Mine in Marshall County first as an intern and then full time after graduating from West Virginia University in 2011.
As a seminarian, he studied philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., for two years and theology at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He is the son of Jeffrey and Carole Smay, who have four other sons and a daughter. They are members of Corpus Christi Parish in Wheeling. Many people throughout his life have helped him along this journey, Deacon Smay said, especially in these past six years of seminary. “I have to start with my family and my parents who were diligent in passing the Catholic faith on to me, not only in words but also in example,” Deacon Smay said. “I also owe a great deal to my grandparents who helped instill in me a love for the Eucharist as a young boy by taking me to Eucharistic Adoration. Father Dennis Schuelkens, who will be vesting me, in addition to being my superior during seminary, has been a source of inspiration and encouragement over the last 20 years. There are many other priests who have been with me, frequently giving me an example of tireless service in the Lord’s vineyard: firstly my pastor for the last 15 years, Msgr. Gene Ostrowski and Father Bob Park, the oldest active priest in the diocese who has been very kind to me. Also the pastors and administrators at my various assignments: Father Don Higgs, Msgr. Joseph L. Peterson, Father Joseph Mandokkara Augustine, Father Thomas R. Gallagher, and Father Steve Vallelonga. Rev. Mr. Joseph J. Prentiss, Ph.D., whom I met while studying at West Virginia University, inspired me by his breadth of knowledge and, above all, his kindness and love for our Lord.” Following his ordination, Deacon Smay will receive a summer assignment and then will return to Rome to continue his studies in Canon Law.