OLD TOWN---On Sunday, August 7, the Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord in Old Town held a celebration in honor of five seminarians who have come from and/or served in the parish. The gathering served to not only thank and support the seminarians, but also to show gratitude to the parishioners for their commitment to promoting and encouraging vocations to the Church.
“Matt Valles discovered and nurtured his vocation while a student at the Newman Center at the University of Maine and calls the Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord his home parish; Thanh Pham served in the parish in the summer 2020, Christmas 2020, and is with us for a pastoral year until August 2023; Vinh Nguyen served here during the pandemic lockdown and was in residence this summer while doing Totus Tuus; Joseph Beale felt the call to priesthood while at the Newman Center); and Nicholas Hershbine likewise felt the call to priesthood while at the Newman Center,” said Fr. Kyle Doustou, pastor of the parish. “All but Thanh will be leaving for their respective seminaries this week.”
Fr. Kyle says that the parish has become, in many ways, "ground zero" for vocations promotion in Maine, thanks in part to the parishioners who take pride in fostering these vocations and supporting them.
“These young men have become a part of us and we a part of them, and it is truly spectacular,” he said. “Aside from the diocese actively assigning seminarians to us, vocations are rising up from us. And as young men from the Newman Center feel the call to priesthood, they become completely involved in every aspect of parish life.
Joe and Nick in particular have given the last two-and-a-half years in constant service to the parish, serving at liturgies, serving on councils and commissions, working in the parish office, doing any number of service projects for the parish, and the list just goes on and on. ”The celebration chairman, Wayne Melanson, and his crew of dozens put together a massive celebration with food, music, speeches, and fellowship. All areas of parish life came together to host this celebration, which included prayer, a buffet lunch, and a performance of “By Name I Have Called You” by the parish choir. Those gathered were also given an overview of the life of each of the seminarians and a summary of their vocational paths. A parishioner shared a prayer she wrote in honor of the celebration, and the chairs of the Pastoral Council, Finance Council, Worship and Spirituality Commission, Church and Family Life Commission, Matthew 25 Social Outreach Commission, Ladies of St. Ann, Daughters of Isabella, and Knights of Columbus each spoke about the work they do and the ways in which these seminarians have participated in and enriched this work.
“At the end, we offered a ‘Blessing and Sending of Those Departing for the Seminary’ and then many stayed to mingle and chat with the seminarians,” said Fr. Kyle. “We were honored by the presence of Fr. Frank Murray, who served for a time as Joe Beale's home pastor in Brunswick, and Joe's parents, Doug and Eileen Beale. I am simply filled with immense amounts of gratitude.”
For more information about discerning a vocation, visit this special section on the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Vocations website: www.portlanddiocese.org/vocations/christ-calling-you. The section features a variety of helpful resources including information about the life of a priest in Maine, the path to the priesthood, the history of the presbyterate in Maine, vocation stories, answers to frequently asked questions, and ways to get in touch with Fr. Greg Dube, the director of the Office of Vocations and Seminarians for the Diocese of Portland.
This story was originally published by the Diocese of Portland