Friday, December 23, 2016

Candidacy in Portland

Bishop Robert Deeley celebrate the Rite of Candidacy for Patrick Finn and Kevin Upham at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Maine.  Here are some pictures and excerpts from an article on the diocesan website.

During the Rite of Candidacy celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley on Thursday, December 22, in the chapel of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.

“They have come to know that Jesus is our light. He is the bearer for them and for us of joy and hope in the salvation he brings to us and the meaning that he gives to our lives,” the bishop said.

During the rite, Patrick and Kevin were called forward and the bishop asked them two questions: “Do you resolve to complete your preparation so that in due time, through Holy Orders, you will be prepared to assume ministry within the Church?” and “Do you resolve to prepare yourselves in mind and spirit to give faithful service to Christ the Lord and his body the Church?”

In both cases, the two answered, “I do.”
Expressing the joy of the Church, the bishop then accepted them into candidacy.

“It’s beautiful,” said Patrick. “It’s a beginning confirmation that this seems to be the Lord’s will for me.”

“I can see the fingerprints of God sort of at work in all of this and in all the steps I’ve had in my vocation journey,” said Kevin.

In the Diocese of Portland, the Rite of Candidacy is most often celebrated within a year of the candidates’ anticipated ordinations to the transitional diaconate.  While the seminarians have already been in formation for several years, it signifies they have reached a point in their discernment where they and the Church are ready to make their intentions public.

“For both Patrick and Kevin, the vocation story became more evident to them and the Church over time. In this ceremony, it moves a step further to completion as they publicly state their intention to become priests, and the Church accepts that intention and promises, through prayer, guidance, and direction, to journey with these new candidates for priesthood,” the bishop said in his homily.

“For me, it’s been a long journey. I have had my moments where I haven’t been sure. That’s natural to have those moments, but I feel at peace,” said Kevin.  “I felt nervous at first, but as I was going through it, I felt kind of giddy.”

“It was just the goodness of the Lord that was in the forefront of my mind and him bringing me forward to this point,” said Patrick. “The Lord’s plans always seem to be better than what we can imagine.”

Patrick, a Bath native, is in fourth theology at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts.  It is his second year of study at St. John's. He previously earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio and a master of divinity degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Kevin, a native of Portland, is in his third year of theological study.  He is in his first year at Saint John’s but previously studied at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. He also participated in the clinical pastoral education program at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Both men have also had pastoral assignments.
Seventeen priests from around the diocese were present for the Rite of Candidacy, along with Father James P. Moroney, rector of Saint John's Seminary.  Fellow seminarians, young men in discernment, family members, and friends also gathered to show their support to Patrick and Kevin.

The bishop noted that support in his homily, saying that the journey to the priesthood, or to any vocation, is not something undertaken alone.

“In the Church, we are not alone as we seek to know God’s will for us. All along, that help has been given to Patrick and Kevin. They have been accompanied by loving families and parish and school communities which have helped them to begin to listen to God’s call to them. Then, they were accompanied by vocation directors and formation advisors in the diocese and the seminary.”

“It really is such a thrill to see so many people from different parishes that I’ve been assigned to -- a number from Sanford and a lot I’ve known through youth ministry -- just to see people coming to be present and supportive is really such a grace," said Patrick.

“It was just nice to have my family – my parents, my grandmother -- there and so many people,” said Kevin. “This was really a wonderful turnout.”

The bishop said celebrating the Rite of Candidacy so close to Christmas is appropriate because, as we celebrate the birth of Christ, we also ask him to deepen our relationship with him and to reflect upon how we are called to bring his light into the world.
“Like Mary, we can be grateful for the gifts we receive and, in that gratitude, allow those gifts to transform our lives,” the bishop said. “We live in gratitude.  Patrick and Kevin have determined that God calls them to live this gratitude in priesthood. In living out their priesthood, they will strive to give thanks to God as they bring others to know the wonder that is Jesus and the light he brings to life.”