Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org

On three Saturdays over a 29-day span, more than three dozen men — 34 in all — will process down the center aisle at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis en route to the rarest of the seven sacraments — Holy Orders.

The ordinations will occur in front of the ordinands' families and friends, seminarians, archdiocesan priests, visiting clergy, the St. Louis faithful and, most importantly, before God.

Archbishop Carlson described ordinations as "always a very powerful and spiritual experience," adding that he "always prays that they work with the gifts they've been given and that God will give them the graces they need to be great priests and deacons."

Ordination season kicks off with the ordination of transitional deacons. Archbishop Carlson calls the seven that were to have been ordained on Saturday, May 5, "an outstanding group."

Three weeks later, on Saturday, May 26, Deacons Gerson Parra and Christopher Rubie will be ordained into the holy brotherhood of priests.

"Both are excellent candidates," Archbishop Carlson said. "I think they'll make great priests."

Finally, on Saturday, June 2, Archbishop Carlson will ordain 25 men as permanent deacons, the largest ordination class in archdiocesan history. In 1985 and 1989, Archbishop John L. May ordained 24 men as permanent deacons.

In addition to the archdiocesan ordinations, the Jesuits, Dominicans and Benedictines have ordinations upcoming. Auxiliary Bishop Mark S. Rivituso will preside for the Dominicans and Benedictines.

It's a busy but joyful season for Archbishop Carlson and Bishop Rivituso. In addition to the ordinations, they celebrate numerous confirmations, which allows them to visit just as many parishes and witness faith in action.

"I love the spring," Archbishop Carlson said. "There's no bishop alive who doesn't like to do confirmations and especially doesn't like to ordain." 

Meet the Transitional Deacons 

Andrew Auer

Age • 24

First Mass as transitional deacon • 11 a.m. Sunday, May 6, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Oakville

Family • parents: Gary and Christine; sisters: Hannah, Hilary and Natalie

Parish • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville)

Education • St. Francis of Assisi School; St. John Vianney High School; Cardinal Glennon College (philosophy); Pontifical North American College (seminary), Pontifical Gregorian University (bachelor's in Sacred Theology, June 2018; licentiate, Class of 2019)

The Call • While in high school, I was very active with sports, activities at school and youth group at the parish. Through involvement at my parish youth group, I was invited to daily Mass, which I did my junior and senior year of high school. Although I came to Mass each day with my own desires and petitions, I would pray very strongly after receiving Holy Communion, "Lord, not my will, but your will be done. Whatever you want to do with my life, I'll let you. You just let me know." It was through the sacraments of the Eucharist and confession that I came to love who the priest is for the Church and began considering it as an option for my own life. Undecided on what to do for university studies, I went on a Come & See retreat hosted by the Vocations Office, and it was there that I felt the peace and confirmation that the Lord was asking me to enter seminary. This path toward Holy Orders has been an entirely unmerited blessing in which God has given me great joy in cooperating with His will for my life.

Samuel Inameti

Age • 34

First Masses as transitional deacon • 8 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 6, St. Augustine Church in St. Louis

Family • parents: Grace and Augustine; brother: Emmanuel; sister: Rita

Parish • Church of Immaculate Conception in Calabar, Nigeria (home); St. Augustine in St. Louis

Education • Nsisuk International Nursery and Primary School in Calabar; University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria (International Relations); National Open University of Nigeria, Calabar Study Center (Peace Study and Conflict Resolution); Kenrick School of Theology (philosophy); Kenrick School of Theology (licentiate, Class of 2019)

The Call • Being the eldest of three siblings, it was easy to be drawn first to serving my younger brother and sister due to the demanding nature of my parents' jobs (as civil servants). Secondly, I learned during this time of service that the only way to preserve peace at home in the absence of mum and dad was to be willing and ready to be a servant leader. One who does not say much but strives to lead by example. Imagine a world where each person instead of spending much time questioning the other's action, translates the energy into concrete practice of virtue for them to see and learn. Herein lies my initial motivation to want to serve as an ambassador in my country's diplomatic mission abroad. For me an ambassador was one who is advocate of peace. I was an Evangelical by birth, and later grew up as a member of a major protestant branch (Anglican Communion) where I served for three years as an evangelist after College in 2005. I would say that my greatest desire has always been the thirst for peace and unity within the human family. This deep thirst for oneness has led me through what I call a purifying and fortifying journey (discernment process) to date. A journey that culminates in the Catholic priesthood with the help the humble priest I met at the Church of Immaculate Conception, my home parish.

Mark Madden

Age • 37

First Mass as transitional deacon • 10 a.m. Sunday, May 5, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in St. Louis

Family • mom: Patricia Madden; dad: William Madden; sisters: Colleen Madden-Blumenfeld, Mary Madden, Jane Goetz, Sarah Madden

Parish • Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in St. Louis

Education • Immaculate Heart of Mary Grade School (K-8); CBC High School; University of Missouri-Rolla (mechanical engineering); Kenrick School of Theology (philosophy); Kenrick School of Theology (licentiate, Class of 2019)

The Call • I first heard the call when I was 12, serving the Good Friday service at my parish. I was awed by the brotherhood and fraternity shown by the three priests in the parish (something I didn't have growing up with four younger sisters). In high school, I was too immature to make the commitment to seminary. It wasn't until Bishop (Edward) Rice's consecration as a bishop, that I started to re-discern the call to the priesthood. After a few more years of discernment, I entered the seminary.

Tony Ritter

Age • 24

First Masses as transitional deacon • 7:30 and 10 a.m. Sunday, May 6, St. Joseph Church in Josephville

Family • parents: Norm and Linda; sister: Sister Mary Francis, O. Praem. (formerly Rose Ritter)

Parish • St. Joseph Parish in Josephville

Education • Assumption Catholic Grade School (K-3); Forest Park Elementary (4-5); Fort Zumwalt North Middle School (6-8); Fort Zumwalt North High School; Cardinal Glennon College (philosophy); Kenrick School of Theology (licentiate, Class of 2019)

The Call • As a young grade schooler attending Mass, I was really inspired by the reverence and prayer life of the priests I encountered in Church. With help from my parents and sister, I began to deepen my own prayer life and form a relationship with our Lord, especially through Eucharistic adoration and daily Mass. As I continued to pray, God kept on raising the idea of the priesthood in my mind and in my heart, so much so, that at the end of my senior year of high school, I knew I had to enter seminary to discern the diocesan priesthood. Through my six years of studies in the seminary, the Lord has continued to confirm that He is calling me to spend my life working for the salvation of souls, and I am delighted to give my life completely to Him and His Church.

Patrick Russell

Age • 26

First Mass as transitional deacon • 10 a.m. Sunday, May 6, Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Washington

Family • parents: Dennis and Kathy; sister, Becky

Parish • St. Robert Bellarmine

Education • St. William Grade School (K-1); St. Norbert Grade School (2-8); De Smet Jesuit High School, Duchesne Catholic High School; Cardinal Glennon College; Kenrick School of Theology (licentiate, Class of 2019)

The Call • My first memory of wanting to be a priest was when I realized that the priest was the person who was at the altar during Mass, my heart was drawn to that. My thoughts of priesthood went widely untouched throughout my grade school career, only spiking an interest for a couple of weeks each summer during Kenrick-Glennon Days, which turned out to be a major influence in my vocation. I was invited to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua with Incarnate Word youth group. This trip taught the invaluable lesson of what love is. These people had nothing, yet they were so authentically joyful because they had love. I had a profound encounter with God's love. I came back to the United States and knew what I had to do. I applied for seminary, was accepted, and eight years later am seeing the fruit of the seeds planted when I was younger. I want everyone I encounter to experience the power of God's love, just like I had the opportunity to.

Stephen Schumacher

Age • 28

First Mass as transitional deacon • 9 a.m. Sunday, May 6, Mary Queen of Peace Church in Webster Groves

Family • parents: Julie and Joel; siblings: Frank, Keith, Claire, Kurt

Parish • Mary Queen of Peace

Education • Mary Queen of Peace School; St. Louis University High School; Vanderbilt University (chemical engineering, physics; double major); Kenrick School of Theology (philosophy); Pontifical North American College (seminary), Pontifical Gregorian University (bachelor's in Sacred Theology, June 2018; licentiate, Class of 2019)

The Call • I heard the call to the priesthood when I was about 10 years old, and I spent much of grade school and high school expecting to be a priest when I grew up. During my junior year at university, I came to a great deepening of my faith, and I knew that it was "time to go." I entered Kenrick-Glennon as a pre-theology student after finishing my degree and a volunteer teaching year at De Smet Jesuit High School. If someone would ask me, "Why do you want to be a priest?" my answer would be simple: "God is calling me."

George Staley

Age • 25

First Mass as transitional deacon • 11 a.m. Sunday May 6, St. Clement of Rome Church in Des Peres

Family • parents: Jay and Martha; siblings: Daniel, Thomas, Madeleine Christopher

Parish • St. Clement of Rome

Education • Homeschool (K-7); St. Clement (8); St. Louis University High School (2010); Cardinal Glennon College (2014; bachelor's in philosophy); Kenrick School of Theology (licentiate, Class of 2019)

The Call • I started thinking about the priesthood when I was in seventh grade after receiving Confirmation and going on my first retreat. Though at the time I didn't know what the priesthood meant, I had a deep desire to serve other people. In my junior year of high school, I went on another retreat which kindled my love for Jesus and my desire to serve Him and His Church as a priest. I entered seminary after graduating high school in 2010 and have continued to grow in knowledge and love of God and the Church over my past eight years in seminary formation.

Diocesan ordination schedule

>> Transitional diaconate

When, where • 10 a.m. Saturday, May 5, Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Who • Andrew Auer, Samuel Inameti, Mark Madden, Anthony Ritter, Patrick Russell, Stephen Schumacher, George Staley

Ordaining Prelate • Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

>> Priesthood

When, where • 10 a.m. Saturday, May 26, Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Who • Deacon Gerson Parra, Deacon Christopher Rubie

Ordaining Prelate • Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

>> Permanent diaconate

When, where • 10 a.m. Saturday, June 2, Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Who • Paul Arthur, Michael Brancato, Joseph Brindley, James DeNatale, John DuFaux, David Ewing, Scott Kaufman, Brian Knight, Kirk Lackas, Kurt Loeffler, Randall Maune, Dennis Meinert, Timothy Michaelree, John Minicky, Steven Moeller, John O'Hara, Matthew O'Neail, Manolo Rivera, Rick Rosenkoetter, William Scarry, David Schaefer, Dan Schmitt, Lee Trani, Patrick Wheadon, Trevor Wild

Ordaining Prelate • Archbishop Robert J. Carlson 

Religious orders

>> Society of Jesus (Jesuits)

USA Central and Southern Province


When, where • 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 9, St. Francis Xavier College Church

Who • W. Penn Dawson, SJ; Jason LaLonde, SJ; David Paternostro, SJ; Michael Wegenka, SJ

Ordaining Prelate • Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Archdiocese of Ottawa (Canada)


When, where • 11a.m. Thursday, June 28, Parroquia San Ignacio de Loyola (St. Ignatius Loyola Parish) in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Who • Fernando Luis Barreto Mercado, SJ

Ordaining Prelate • Archbishop Roberto O. González Nieves, OFM, Archdiocese of San Juan

>> Order of Preachers (Dominicans)

Province of St. Albert the Great


When, where • 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19, St. Pius V Church

Who • Brent Anthony Bowen, OP; Brian John Zuelke, OP

Ordaining Prelate • Bishop Mark S. Rivituso, Archdiocese of St. Louis

Province of St. Martin de Porres

When, where • 10 a.m. Saturday, July 7, Holy Rosary Church, Houston

Who • Carl Joseph Paustian, OP (Priesthood); Nicholas Daniel Reynolds, OP (Diaconate)

Ordaining Prelate • Bishop David A. Konderla, Diocese of Tulsa

>> Order of St. Benedict (Benedictines)


When, where • 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, St. Louis Abbey

Who • Brother Athanasius Soto, OSB

Ordaining Prelate • Bishop Mark S. Rivituso, Archdiocese of St. Louis


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