SERVING UNDER 5 POPES: PIUS XII (1939-1958): The Pope who gave Father the priesthood. -- Having completed both his college and major seminary studies, magna cum laude, two years ahead of schedule, Father was, by special dispensation of the pope, ordained at age 23, making him at the time the youngest priest in the world.
Erunt sacerdotes Dei et Christi, et regnabunt cum Illo mille annis.
A PRIEST FOREVER. -- On April 12, 1942, Father was ordained by the Most Reverend Honoré Coppieters, 26th Bishop of the diocese of Ghent, founded in 1559, East Flanders, Belgium. -- The 1942 ordination class picture shows Father in the front row, fourth from the right.
They will be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
MISERATIONE DIVINA ET SANCTÆ SEDIS APOSTOLICÆ GRATIA,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper.
On April 14, 1942, Father offered his Solemn First Mass -- on an altar, facing the crucifix and tabernacle, and in Latin, -- in the same Holy Cross church of Stekene, "in Flanders' Fields," where he was baptized and made his First Communion.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.