FAIRHAVEN — On October 16, Brother William Gural, SS.CC., was ordained to the presbyterate by Bishop Edgar de Cunha S.D.V., Bishop of Fall River. Supported by family, the Congregation and the parishes where he has served, Bill, as he is familiarly known, a convert to Catholicism and having completed studies in Fiji, was immediately assigned to serve in Sacred Heart Church, Edinburgh, Texas, with Father Manoj Nayak, SS.CC. 

The Provincial, Father Lane Akiona, shared the news of his first assignment, during the festive lunch which followed the ordination at St. Joseph’s Church, Fairhaven. 

Father William Gural, SS.CC., is surrounded by members of his order, Bishop da Cunha, and diocesan priests, following his ordination to the priesthood on October 16 at St. Joseph’s Church in Fairhaven. Father Gural is to the bishop’s immediate left.

The bishop, who comes from Brazil, participated in all aspects of the celebration and spoke warmly of the contribution which the Congregation has made to the diocese over the 100-plus years the Sacred Hearts have served here.

The following day is a date that will be remembered for a long time. The drama of the death of Father Chris Keahi SS.CC., was playing out in Honolulu while Father Gural celebrated his first Mass, also at St. Joseph’s. 

In a recent blog, Bishop da Cunha wrote, “I was honored to ordain Brother William (Bill) S. Gural, SS.CC., to the priesthood for service in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 

“Father Gural did his pastoral year and diaconate ministry at St. Joseph’s Parish in Fairhaven, where his ordination took place. The Sacred Hearts community has a long and strong presence in the Diocese of Fall River, especially in Fairhaven. Their priests staff both St. Joseph and St. Mary parishes in the town, as well as Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in New Bedford.

“Many of the faithful attended the ordination along with 26 priests, three deacons, Sacred Hearts Brothers and Sisters, and Fathers Lane Akiona, SS.CC., and Robert Charlton, SS.CC., provincial superior and vicar provincial, respectively, of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts USA Province.

“During my homily, I reminded Brother Bill, as I do all the men I am privileged to ordain, that they are there because God called them to this vocation. The priesthood is not a career or professional choice they make for their lives. Rather, it is a response to God who did not call them because they were perfect or even could become perfect, but because He saw enough goodness and generosity in the depths of hearts to make them His servant to shepherd His people.

Father Gural was featured in an interview in the September 17 and October 1 Anchors by Father David Lupo, SS.CC., pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Fairhaven. In it, then-Brother William explained his conversion to Catholicism and his discernment process to become a priest.