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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

072716 ordination mainHUNTERSVILLE — The Diocese of Charlotte has two new priests, ordained during this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy for the Church. Father Cory Catron and Father David McCanless were ordained by Bishop Peter J. Jugis during a two-hour Mass June 18 at St. Mark Church that drew hundreds of people, including dozens of priests and deacons, women religious, Knights of Columbus and lay faithful.

Seated before the sanctuary at the start of Mass, both men were presented for ordination to the bishop by Father Christopher Gober, director of vocations for the diocese.

"Most Reverend Father, Holy Mother Church asks you to ordain these, our brothers, for the responsibility of the priesthood," Father Gober said. Upon Bishop Jugis' inquiry as to their worthiness, Father Gober affirmed it and Bishop Jugis accepted them for the order of the priesthood. A loud round of applause then arose from the faithful gathered for the celebration.

During his homily, Bishop Jugis noted that Jesus the High Priest established the priesthood in the Church. "Today, with a brother's kindness, He chooses these two men to share in His sacred ministry through the laying on of hands," he said. "By the special grace of the Holy Spirit, they now conceive the indelible spiritual character which consecrates them and configures them to Christ."

He asked those gathered to consider the power of the Holy Spirit who is capable of transforming the men into an 'alter Christus,' another Christ. "Such a power in that Holy Spirit, so that now these two men have the power to act as Christ the Head... It's a divine power, the power of the Holy Spirit."

Bishop Jugis directed his comments to both of the men being ordained, reminding them of their priestly responsibilities upon receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. He explained that through the power of the Holy Spirit they will offer the Eucharist, to make the Real Presence present. They will also have the power to absolve penitents of their sins, power to bring the healing power of Christ to the sick, and power to extend Christ's salvific work in the world, he said.

"You are being ordained priests during the Extraordinary Holy Year, the Jubilee of Mercy," he then told them. "You are priests of the Holy Year of Mercy. Shepherd the faithful with the mercy of Jesus."
He enumerated the ways that Jesus showed mercy to the People of God. He showed mercy to the sick, to the dying, to sinners in need of forgiveness, and to those who needed instruction in the ways of the kingdom of God.

"Jesus showed mercy to the whole human race by suffering, dying and rising to destroy sin and death. Bring the mercy of Jesus to the people of God through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharist, which make the merciful event of the sacrifice of Calvary really present to us," he said.

After the homily, Bishop Jugis asked both men a series of questions to express their desire and willingness to be ordained priests and to fulfill the responsibilities that come with ordination. Then, one at a time, the men approached the bishop, placing their hands in his to signify obedience to him and to the Church.

The Litany of Supplication followed, during which the men laid prostrate before the altar as Bishop Jugis and everyone gathered at the Mass knelt in prayer and chanted the Litany of the Saints. Then they arose and approached the bishop, who laid his hands on their heads. During this most solemn moment of the ordination rite, Bishop Jugis prayed silently over them for the gift of the Holy Spirit to descend upon them.

Dozens of priests then took their turn laying hands on the newly ordained priests, joining the bishop in invoking the Holy Spirit to come upon the two men.

Father Cory Catron was then vested by Father Thaddeus Zuber of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., his great-uncle and mentor. Father David McCanless was vested by Father Joseph Farrell, a friend and priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Va.

During Communion each of the newly ordained priests was able to offer the Eucharist, which they consecrated along with Bishop Jugis and the other priests present, to their parents and families.

"God has looked with mercy on us in His Son Jesus, and wants you to be ministers of His mercy to extend His work of salvation in the world," Bishop Jugis told Father Catron and Father McCanless. "You are priests of the Holy Year of Mercy. May the mercy of God show forth in your priestly ministry as you serve the Lord with joyful hearts."

Father Cory Catron will be assigned to St. Mark Church in Huntersville. Father David McCanless will be assigned to St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte. Both assignments are effective Tuesday, July 5.

— SueAnn Howell, senior reporter

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072716 ordination mainHUNTERSVILLE — The Diocese of Charlotte has two new priests, ordained during this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy for the Church. Father Cory Catron and Father David McCanless were ordained by Bishop Peter J. Jugis during a two-hour Mass June 18 at St. Mark Church that drew hundreds of people, including dozens of priests and deacons, women religious, Knights of Columbus and lay faithful.

Seated before the sanctuary at the start of Mass, both men were presented for ordination to the bishop by Father Christopher Gober, director of vocations for the diocese.

"Most Reverend Father, Holy Mother Church asks you to ordain these, our brothers, for the responsibility of the priesthood," Father Gober said. Upon Bishop Jugis' inquiry as to their worthiness, Father Gober affirmed it and Bishop Jugis accepted them for the order of the priesthood. A loud round of applause then arose from the faithful gathered for the celebration.

During his homily, Bishop Jugis noted that Jesus the High Priest established the priesthood in the Church. "Today, with a brother's kindness, He chooses these two men to share in His sacred ministry through the laying on of hands," he said. "By the special grace of the Holy Spirit, they now conceive the indelible spiritual character which consecrates them and configures them to Christ."

He asked those gathered to consider the power of the Holy Spirit who is capable of transforming the men into an 'alter Christus,' another Christ. "Such a power in that Holy Spirit, so that now these two men have the power to act as Christ the Head... It's a divine power, the power of the Holy Spirit."

Bishop Jugis directed his comments to both of the men being ordained, reminding them of their priestly responsibilities upon receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. He explained that through the power of the Holy Spirit they will offer the Eucharist, to make the Real Presence present. They will also have the power to absolve penitents of their sins, power to bring the healing power of Christ to the sick, and power to extend Christ's salvific work in the world, he said.

"You are being ordained priests during the Extraordinary Holy Year, the Jubilee of Mercy," he then told them. "You are priests of the Holy Year of Mercy. Shepherd the faithful with the mercy of Jesus."
He enumerated the ways that Jesus showed mercy to the People of God. He showed mercy to the sick, to the dying, to sinners in need of forgiveness, and to those who needed instruction in the ways of the kingdom of God.

"Jesus showed mercy to the whole human race by suffering, dying and rising to destroy sin and death. Bring the mercy of Jesus to the people of God through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharist, which make the merciful event of the sacrifice of Calvary really present to us," he said.

After the homily, Bishop Jugis asked both men a series of questions to express their desire and willingness to be ordained priests and to fulfill the responsibilities that come with ordination. Then, one at a time, the men approached the bishop, placing their hands in his to signify obedience to him and to the Church.

The Litany of Supplication followed, during which the men laid prostrate before the altar as Bishop Jugis and everyone gathered at the Mass knelt in prayer and chanted the Litany of the Saints. Then they arose and approached the bishop, who laid his hands on their heads. During this most solemn moment of the ordination rite, Bishop Jugis prayed silently over them for the gift of the Holy Spirit to descend upon them.

Dozens of priests then took their turn laying hands on the newly ordained priests, joining the bishop in invoking the Holy Spirit to come upon the two men.

Father Cory Catron was then vested by Father Thaddeus Zuber of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., his great-uncle and mentor. Father David McCanless was vested by Father Joseph Farrell, a friend and priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Va.

During Communion each of the newly ordained priests was able to offer the Eucharist, which they consecrated along with Bishop Jugis and the other priests present, to their parents and families.

"God has looked with mercy on us in His Son Jesus, and wants you to be ministers of His mercy to extend His work of salvation in the world," Bishop Jugis told Father Catron and Father McCanless. "You are priests of the Holy Year of Mercy. May the mercy of God show forth in your priestly ministry as you serve the Lord with joyful hearts."

Father Cory Catron will be assigned to St. Mark Church in Huntersville. Father David McCanless will be assigned to St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte. Both assignments are effective Tuesday, July 5.

— SueAnn Howell, senior reporter

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Father Catron offers first Mass at Belmont Abbey

Father Catron offers first Mass at Belmont Abbey

BELMONT — Father Cory Catron celebrated his first Mass June 19 at Belmont Abbey's Mary Help of Christians Basilica.

Father Catron's family and friends, as well as seminarians from the Diocese of Charlotte and monks from Belmont Abbey, attended the priest's Mass of Thanksgiving. Benedictine Abbot Placid Solari served as homilist.

His chasuble featured an image of the Blessed Virgin Mother holding the Child Jesus.

In an interview before his ordination, Father Catron noted, "The alb I will be wearing is constructed from lace that was on an alb which belonged to my great-uncle, a priest for 66 years, which his mother crocheted for him by hand. We've had it altered by attaching it to a new top piece; the linen part of the old alb was showing its age, plus there's a significant size difference between myself and my uncle!"

The chalice he used was a gift from his friend and mentor, Father Thaddeus Zuber from the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. It had been given to him by his parents in 1950, when he was ordained.

"Father Zuber celebrates 66 years of priesthood this summer, and he has been a constant source of support and encouragement (and books and wonderful articles to read, that he mails me occasionally) throughout the years," Father Catron noted.

After Mass, new priest offered blessings to people on the new prie-dieu he received from the Mary's Sons apostolate.

— Catholic News Herald. Photos by John Cosmas, Catholic News Herald.

Father McCanless celebrates first Mass at his home parish

SALISBURY — Surrounded by his family and friends, Father David McCanless offered his first Mass June 19 at his home parish of Sacred Heart Church.

Father John Putnam, former pastor, served as homilist.

Other priests at the celebration included Father Jason Barone, Father Santiago Mariani, Father Mark Lawler, Father Noah Carter, Father John Eckert and Father Lucas Rossi. Deacon Jim Mazur assisted at the Mass.

In an earlier interview, Father McCanless described the vestment he selected for his first Mass: "My vestment comes from Italy and is ivory, embroidered with images of the Four Evangelists. Because the Gospels are the source of both the Christian life and the priesthood, I thought it was appropriate imagery."
The chalice he used came from Poland and featured medallions of Jesus, Mary and the Four Evangelists on its base.

After Mass, parishioners and Father McCanless went over to Brincefield Hall to enjoy barbecue sandwiches and dessert. The new priest also offered blessings to people on the new prie-dieu he received from the Mary's Sons apostolate.

— Catholic News Herald. Photos by Bill Washington, Catholic News Herald.

Parents of new priests share their reflections

Parents of new priests share their reflections

CHARLOTTE — On June 18, two families' lives were forever changed as their sons received the sacrament of holy orders. The joyful moment was the culmination of years of prayer and study and marked a new chapter in the lives of the families of Father Cory Catron and Father David McCanless.

Father Catron, the son of Jerry and Mia Catron, has one brother, Micah. His parents recently reflected on Father Catron's vocation.

"We were, at first, a little surprised that Cory was considering a vocation," Mia Catron said. "Through high school, he had shown an interest in law and possibly journalism. He started showing a real interest in his faith in high school.

"Cory did not have an intense Catholic upbringing. We attended Mass, but he had little strong, religious development during his early years other than that. As Cory began to show an interest in the faith, he sought counseling from his grandfather and great-uncle. Both had strong Catholic upbringings. 'Uncle Padre' (his great-uncle, Father Ted Zuber) has been a priest for over 66 years. Both were very influential in Cory's development.

When it was time for her son to choose a college, she continued, he chose the Benedictine-run Belmont Abbey College. "Cory considered other colleges, but decided on the Abbey. We strongly believe that God guided him to this decision. The outstanding faculty and the overall religious experience were very beneficial in his continued growth in the Catholic faith. During his final two years at Belmont Abbey, he began to feel the call to pursue a priestly vocation. After much reflection, he chose to enter formation."

The Catrons feel that for them, it has been an amazing journey through college and seminary.

"Watching Cory grow through the process and his love of God and knowledge has been a growing process for us, also," said Mia Catron. "We are extremely excited as the many years of development and education culminates in his ordination and his continued journey in God's service. We feel very honored and blessed that God has chosen Cory."

Father David McCanless, the son of Bill and Ann McCanless, has one brother, William, and a sister, Kate. His parents also reflected on their son's vocation.

"Bill and I feel very blessed that David is being ordained a priest this weekend," Ann McCanless shared June 17.

"We are proud of his hard work and are grateful for all the prayers and encouragement he has received from the people of the diocese."

— SueAnn Howell, senior reporter

Meet our new priests

Meet our new priests

Father Cory Catron

Cory Catron at the 2015 Eucharistic Congress (Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald)Home parish: St. Frances of Rome Church, Sparta; originally St. Mary, Mother of God Church in Wytheville, Va.

Raised in: Rural Retreat, Va.

Birthday: April 22, 1988

Family: Parents, Jerry and Mia Catron; brother, Micah Catron

College: Belmont Abbey College, Class of 2010

Degree: B.A. in Theology and Philosophy

Pre-Theology: Pontifical College Josephinum

Theology: Pontifical College Josephinum

Summer assignments in the diocese: Previously at St. John the Evangelist Church, Waynesville, and Immaculate Conception Mission, Canton, in 2011; St. Francis of Assisi Church, Jefferson, and St. Frances of Rome Mission, Sparta, in 2012; St. Vincent de Paul Church, Charlotte, in 2014

CNH: What are some of your interests/hobbies?

Catron: I was raised by a librarian so reading is always a big one for me. Since high school I have enjoyed reading theology and philosophy, which is largely why I chose to study those subjects in college. I also like modern American literature, particularly Southern literature like Flannery O'Connor; I also enjoy C.S. Lewis. I enjoy writing from time to time, usually short fiction or various contrarian essays about what's going on in the world. I have always been fascinated by languages and so make studying and practicing them an occasional diversion. This also contributed to my studies in seminary, as I pursued a degree in Scripture. I also like the outdoors, having been involved in Scouting for many years, and so enjoy fishing, camping and hiking.

CNH: When did you first realize you had a vocation to the priesthood?

Catron: I think I had a sort of vague attraction to the priesthood while I was in high school. It was at that time I began to read my grandfather's collection of books about Catholicism to try to learn more about my faith in response to challenges I met to it among my peers and even my teachers in school. It was when I got to Belmont Abbey, though, that that vague attraction started to take shape in an even bigger way, and then going to the Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte that fall was perhaps the greatest catalyst. That procession had an effect on me that to this day is a reminder of the great peace that I have found in following the Lord and seeking His will for my life.

CNH: Who has helped you or given you a good example to follow during these years of discernment and seminary?

Catron: I would say that there have been a number of good people along the way these past 10 or so years that I have been discerning and in formation. I first think of my great-uncle, Father Ted Zuber, from the Archdiocese of Newark. He celebrates 66 years of priesthood this summer, and he has been a constant source of support and encouragement (and books and wonderful articles to read, that he mails me occasionally) throughout the years. I am especially blessed that he will be attending the ordination to vest me, as well as concelebrating my first Mass the next day. The chalice with which I am celebrating my first Mass was actually given to him by his parents in 1950 when he was ordained, and he handed it on to me a year ago.

I think also of the monks at Belmont Abbey, to whom I became close during my time in college. Their prayers, friendship, hospitality and guidance throughout the years have been of inestimable value to me. I would be remiss if I did not mention the many priests of the Diocese of Charlotte who have walked the way with me these last several years, particularly my pastor, Father James Stuhrenberg, who has been a great friend and mentor to me. It really was coming to the Diocese of Charlotte that made my vocation come into focus in a big way, as I really saw for the first time priests who were united in their love of the Lord and in service to His Church, and who found such great joy in their work.

CNH: What would you like to say to young men who may have a call to the priesthood?

Catron: The biggest thing to keep in mind about discerning your vocation – no matter what it is that God calls you to – is that it will rarely just be laid out for you, made completely clear all in one go. This is because life with God is an adventure! We have to be ready to prayerfully and virtuously test things out, venture into areas that may seem difficult, explore things about ourselves that we might not have thought of, be challenged and become better for having accepted the challenge. If you feel God might be calling you to the priesthood, don't be afraid to test that out! Even if only for a year or two, give yourself over to exploring what He might be calling you to, and realize that no matter where the road leads you, you'll have become a better man for having tried it out, and you'll learn things you couldn't possibly have otherwise. And if He does invite you to serve the Church as a priest, then you'll see just how tremendous a blessing it is.

CNH: Is there any comment you would like to share with our readers about becoming a priest here in the Diocese of Charlotte?

Catron: Words do not express my excitement at finally coming home to the Diocese of Charlotte. A few years ago, I was flying into Charlotte after having been in Ohio at the seminary for several months and then taking a brief vacation to visit some friends in California. When the pilot said that we were making our approach into Charlotte, I recall becoming somewhat emotional – it hit me then that I was coming home. I still feel that way every time I cross the state line out of Virginia or Tennessee when I've gone there to visit family. This place has given me so much these past few years, and now I am ready and eager to begin to give back in whatever small way I can by serving as a priest here.

Father David McCanless

Home parish: Sacred Heart Church, Salisbury

Raised in: Salisbury

Birthday: Sept. 22, 1985

Family: Parents, Bill and Ann McCanless; siblings, William and Kate McCanless

College: Wake Forest University

Degree: B.A. in Classical Studies

Pre-Theology: St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia

Theology: Pontifical North American College

Summer assignments in the diocese: St Vincent de Paul Church, Charlotte; Sacred Heart Church, Salisbury; St. Mark Church, Huntersville; St. John the Baptist Church, Tryon

CNH: What are some of your interests/hobbies?

McCanless: Golf, Wake Forest sports, reading history (and the Catholic News Herald!), traveling.

CNH: When did you first realize you had a vocation to the priesthood?

McCanless: I began to discern a vocation to the priesthood when I was in college.

CNH: Who has helped you or given you a good example to follow during these years of discernment and seminary?

McCanless: My pastor, Father John Putnam, and our vocations director, Father Christopher Gober, have been very supportive and helpful during these years. Many other priests in the diocese, such as Father Mark Lawlor and Father Roger Arnsparger – who hosted me at their parishes during the summer – have also been important mentors.

CNH: What would you like to say to young men who may have a call to the priesthood?

McCanless: If I may borrow a phrase from St. John Paul II, "Be not afraid!" Pray and talk with your pastor about the decision, and trust that God will lead you along the right path.

CNH: Is there any comment you would like to share with our readers about becoming a priest here in the Diocese of Charlotte?

McCanless: I am grateful to so many people for their prayers and support over these years, and I look forward to getting to know many more in my future assignments as a priest of the diocese.