Vocation Story of the Month: Fr. David Raymond
I was born and raised in the northern tip of Aroostook County in the small community of Frenchville on June 30, 1953, the third son of what was to become a family of six children to Maurice and Marie Louise Raymond. I was educated in the local public schools in Frenchville and St. Agatha and then attended the University of Maine at Fort Kent where I majored in education and history. I graduated magna cum laude from the UMFK and was the co-recipient of the Social Science Award and a recipient of the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence.
Shortly after my graduation, I entered the U.S. Peace Corps. I trained in Niamey in Niger and was assigned as a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) teacher in Pala, Chad. I remain very interested national affairs of the region of the Sahel.
I returned home and secured a teaching position in the very school system in which, a few years earlier, I had been a student. I taught sixth grade through high school during my 22-year career in MSAD #33.
In the 1980’s, I acquired a graduate degree in curriculum and school supervision from the University of Southern Maine and served MSAD #33 in various capacities from assistant principal to curriculum director. I also took courses in French and bilingual education at the University of Maine, University of Moncton in New Brunswick, and at various universities in France, which secured me an endorsement from the Department of Education in French and bilingual education. I then served as bilingual education curriculum coordinator in various St. John Valley Federal Bilingual programs. My long-range goal at the time was to remain in education for 25 years or so and then change professions. I made it up to 22 and God laughed.
I was involved in parish life in St. Agatha for years, especially in religious education, as teacher and as chairperson of the commission.
In June 1998, God gave me the courage to begin the most incredible journey. After being interviewed, tested, evaluated, and recommended, I received word of acceptance from the diocese that I would be attending Theological College, a Sulpician Seminary, at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in the fall. I began my studies in philosophy in the fall of 1998 and transferred to the Department of Theology in 2000. That same summer, I participated in the Program of Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
I volunteered at various areas of need while attending the seminary including the St. Aloysius Homeless Shelter, as a catechist in Chinatown, as an assistant at the Little Sisters of the Poor home for the elderly, as catechist for adult formation for two years, and as deacon at St. Joseph on Capitol Hill Parish. I was ordained as a deacon in April 2002 at the National Shrine of Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. I received an STB degree from the Catholic University of America in May of this year.
I was ordained to the sacred priesthood on June 7, 2003, at St. Luce Parish in Frenchville, by The Most Reverend Joseph Gerry, OSB., Bishop of Portland.
My earliest recollection of wanting to become a priest dates back to my middle school years. I recall listening to a missionary who had come to our school to speak on his experience working with the poor in missions. I don’t remember what he said, but I remember Jesus placing into my heart a desire to become a missionary. Although this desire waned for years, it never really left my heart.
I am very devoted to the “Little Way” or St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who became the patron of missionaries.
I served five years in my first assignment as parochial vicar of a large cluster of 10 churches in central Aroostook County. I felt I had truly become a missionary. I am now serving as pastor in Cluster 4 in southern Aroostook still doing the work of a missionary.