On June 23, Bishop Boyea ordained James Victor Mangan to the priesthood. Father Mangan is a native of Ann Arbor. His parents are James and Susan Mangan. He is a graduate of Fr. Gabriel Richard High School, Eastern Michigan University, and North American College, Vatican City State. His home parish is Christ the King in Ann Arbor.
I was born and raised in Ann Arbor. (Go Blue!).
I grew up as the second-youngest of six children. The faith was always important at home and my parents worked hard to make sure that my siblings and I learned how important and central a role Christ should have in each of our lives. I can still remember the time I first felt called to the priesthood. Although I had been raised in the faith, it was not until the later years of high school that I felt the invitation to make more of a personal commitment to God. So over those few years I began to take up a regular prayer life, and through that began to personally experience the love of Christ. And right alongside this experience, I felt a need to share this love with others.
Once I got to Eastern Michigan University, I immediately got involved in some different Christian groups on campus as well as the campus parish, Holy Trinity. As time went on, I was spending more and more time helping out with campus ministry. Then, one day, I was reading about the priesthood and it struck me thatI thought that would be a pretty great job. After all, I was spending a lot of time doing ministry, why not spend all my time helping people to know God.
Very early on in the process I got involved with Chi Rho House, which was a discernment group based out of St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Arbor. Many different priests of our diocese dropped in on our evening gatherings to share their experience of the priesthood. Having the opportunity to hear different priests share their story helped me to figure out what God was planning in my story. Through their lives as priests I could begin to imagine what my life as a priest would belike if I joined seminary and went through the process.
Although I was getting more and more involved in the faith, I had never mentioned anything about the priesthood until college, so my family was a little surprised at first. But they quickly got behind meand ever since then have been a great source of encouragement. It has been a huge blessing to have their support.
After I finished up college, I entered seminary at St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. When I first joined seminary I never imagined that I would end up in Rome. It was quite a surprise to find out that there was an American seminary in Rome, let alone that I would be going there. During my time in Rome, I feel thatGod has really blessed me with a greater appreciation for the Holy Father,Universal Church, and the saints, so many of whom have relics in Rome.
The biggest highlight of my year as a transitional deacon was helping out at my apostolate to the study abroad students of St. Mary’s University, the sister college of Notre Dame. I have enjoyed the chance to preach during our weekly Mass. Although it was not always easy to find something to say which was both meaningful and relevant to their lives, it was always rewarding to have the opportunity to help them in their faith. And since most of them were Notre Dame fans, as a native of Ann Arbor, I also enjoyed reminding them who won the football game earlier this year.
I get excited about celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, baptizing babies, teaching people about God and the riches of our faith, ministering to those in joy and sorrow. The list goes on. I feel so blessed to be about to embark on such a meaningful and important life as that of a Catholic priest.
On June 23, Bishop Boyea also ordained John Whitlock and Paul Erickson to the transitional diaconate.They will be ordained to the priesthood in June 2013
Deacon John Whitlock is the son of Dennis and Mary Whitlock. He graduated from St. Johns High School, St. Johns, MI, and is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. His home parish is St. Joseph, Adrian. Deacon Whitlock is studying at SacredHeart Major Seminary in Detroit..
I didn’t enter theChurch until the end of my undergraduate studies, and so I entered seminary later than some of my classmates. My discernment of the call to the priesthood was a gradual process. It began as I became more and more involved in the Church, and was strengthened in prayer and by the encouragement of friends and my pastor. Discernment continues even when a man enters the seminary; in fact it becomes even more intense. The seminary is designed to help you come to know and be at peace with God’s perfect will for your life.
Today, there is not always a lot of support for men who feel called to the priesthood. And yet a man cannot pursue a vocation on his own. He really needs priests to mentor him. He needs parishioners to encourage him. Personally, I will be always grateful forthe prayers of many religious sisters on my behalf. Besides these external supports, the seminarian must have a strong faith. What many call a"vocations crisis" in the Church is really a crisis of faith. When young people learn to love the Lord Jesus with their heart, mind, and strength,and to seek His will alone as the first priority in their lives, we will again have all types of vocations in abundance.
One of the greatest gifts of diocesan priesthood is that you are able to meet wonderful people of faith everywhere you go. Just knowing this reality has changed how I view the world and gives me much hope. Furthermore, it is almost unfathomable to think that I am going to be able to offer Mass and to grant absolution in theSacrament of Penance. It is at this point that a man really has to rely on the grace of being called by Jesus, because no one could ever dare take this upon himself any other way. I do not really have any expectations, except that I know God will always be faithful, come what may.
Deacon Paul Erickson, the son of Brian and Arlene Erickson, was born in Ann Arbor and grew up in Saline. His home parish is St. Andrew in Saline. Deacon Erickson is a graduate of Saline High School and the University of St. Thomas. He is a student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
I first felt called to the priesthood after my freshman year in college (Eastern MichiganUniversity). I took a second year at EMU as a kind of discernment year. Ina nice stroke of providence, the on-campus parish, Holy Trinity, was offering housing to Catholic men eager to get out of the dorms. Sixteen men moved in to the old frat house that the parish had leased. The men I lived with that year were extremely valuable in my discernment process. In fact, three of us entered seminary that next year. Talking and praying with those guys really watered the seed that the Lord had planted within me.
Overall, my family has been supportive. I don’t come from aparticularly "religious" family, so I don’t think many of them really understand some of the decisions I’ve made, especially some of my extended family. However, they all have seen how much I have thrived in the seminary and how much I look forward to the ministry.
I hope to gain is a love for ministry. I have gotten tastes of it from other times in parishes,but to have the grace and responsibility of diaconal ministry is something altogether different from anything I have ever done before. Mainly, I hope, in a word, to learn how to love--to understand what it means to be the head of a parish community and pour myself out in service for them.
I am very eager to celebrate the sacraments. They were part of what drew me to the priesthood in the first place; to be the one who literally brings Jesus to people, to be the instrument of His mercy and healing, to re-offer His sacrifice for the nourishment of the faithful. It seems almost too good to be true.