BRUNSWICK---Deacon Patrick Finn, a Bath native, will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Robert P. Deeley on Saturday, June 16, at 10 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, located on 39 Pleasant Street in Brunswick. All are welcome to attend the celebration.
The night before the ordination (Friday, June 15), a Holy Hour will be held at St. John the Baptist Church from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. to pray for vocations. All are welcome to attend the Holy Hour as well.
“It’s pretty awesome to realize that I’m coming to one ending in my life, many years of formation for the priesthood, that culminate on Saturday. And yet, there’s a whole lifetime of priestly ministry on the other side that I’m so excited to begin. God has definitely been very good to me!” said Deacon Patrick.
Less than ten miles from where he served as a reader at St. Mary Church in Bath as a teenager, Deacon Patrick’s blessed journey will bring him home that Saturday, a continuation of a path created through embracing God’s plan for him.
“St. John the Baptist is a special church for me, too, since our youth ministry group from St. Mary’s in Bath was together with their group,” he said. “So, getting ordained in a place where a lot of my faith started to come of age is quite meaningful.”
Deacon Patrick says he has always known the presence of the Lord in his life, first thinking that he might be called to the priesthood when he was a boy in fifth grade. He said attending the YOUTH 2000 retreat and the Steubenville East summer youth conference as a high school student further enlivened his faith.
“Getting to know friends who were also discerning what the Lord wanted them to do in their lives was a key thing for me,” said Deacon Patrick. “When I was getting on toward high school graduation, Father Dan Greenleaf (currently director of seminarians for the diocese) started a regular Monday night discernment group that met for quite a while in Lewiston. Several of the guys have since married and now their kids are growing up, which is so cool to see. But a number of us have gone on to ordained ministry as well, and many of us have remained friends through the years. That’s been really cool to see.”
After graduating from Morse High School in Bath, Finn attended Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, and he said that it was there that it became clear to him that he had a vocation to the priesthood. While he considered returning to Maine, he said he felt the Lord was calling him to be a religious order priest with the Franciscans who minister at the university. After he received his degree in theology, he entered formation with the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular at their motherhouse in Loretto, Pennsylvania. In 2008, he professed first vows, then moved to Washington, D.C., to continue his formation and education.
During his time with the friars, he worked at a small Catholic elementary school in Loretto, worked with a fraternity of Secular Franciscans and a group for people with special needs and their families, served at an inner-city parish in Maryland, completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (hospital ministry training) in Florida, and lived among the Yankton Sioux in South Dakota.
He attended the Catholic University of America and earned a master of divinity degree in 2012, but around that same time, he left the Franciscans.
“I had many awesome opportunities as a friar and I learned and experienced so much that I never could have gotten elsewhere,” said Patrick. “But God made it clear that this particular community wasn’t where I needed to be.”
He thought about what he was truly passionate about and the process led him to serving as the communications director for the Black and Indian Mission Office in Washington, D.C., founded by the U.S. Catholic bishops in 1884.
“This ministry took me to Catholic missions among several different Native American and African-American communities across the country,” he said. “I gathered stories and photos to promote these unique mission fields on a national level.”
After just over a year as communications director, a new opportunity presented itself to Patrick, one he could not turn down.
“After eleven years away from Maine, Monsignor Marc Caron hired me as the director of faith formation at Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, and I was there from 2013 to 2015,” he said. “I loved my work there, a city where four generations of my family had lived and worked. I worked with a lot of really wonderful people, and we were able to get some great evangelistic and catechetical efforts in motion during that time. It was an awesome time of ‘paying forward’ the blessings I received years earlier.”
Living back home and being surrounded by several longtime priest friends put Patrick where he felt he needed to be: back on the path to the priesthood.
“Father Nathan March mentioned one strong common bond among all the priests of the Diocese of Portland. They have an almost visceral connection to the people and place of Maine. That really got me thinking that I had that, and had for a long time. I finally completed my application to the diocese, and the Lord’s taken it from there.”
In May of 2017, Deacon Patrick completed two additional years of theological study at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, and, last October, he was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Deeley. Deacon Patrick has since completed pastoral assignments in the parishes of Hancock County and the Parish of the Holy Eucharist in Falmouth.
“Beginning to ‘cut my teeth’ as a young minister in two very different parts of Maine has been great,” he said. “Learning to preach, and getting a good bit of practice at it, has been a major blessing.”
With his ordination days away, Deacon Patrick is pondering the winding path his life has taken that now nears fulfillment.
“Giving my life to Jesus as a high school kid has led to so many awesome adventures,” he said. “It hasn’t always been easy, but the Lord has definitely been with me at every turn.”