A little over a year ago, our seminarian Grant Wilson and I had a conversation about the possibility of his taking a Pastoral Year in the diocese. As you may know, seminarians in formation for the priesthood for our diocese study at seminaries located outside of the diocese, limiting their ability to connect with this local Church. And while Christmas and summer breaks offer the opportunity for these men to reconnect with their home diocese, it can still be difficult to get a good idea of what it is like to serve locally for more than a month or two at a time. In Grant’s case, he had not only been outside of the diocese for the past two years, he had been outside of the country, a practice in place for seminarians studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Suffice it to say that Grant was eager to be back home for more than just a summer, and we were glad to welcome him home for a more extended time.
During the past year, Grant has invested himself in various ministries here at the Cathedral. He has been involved in the ALPHA program, GriefShare, Family of Faith, and visits to the homebound, just to mention a few. He filled in on several occasions as Master of Ceremonies for Bishop Paprocki and was a regular presence for the various Cathedral liturgies. Grant shared in the common life of the Rectory by being present for prayer, meals, and other times of recreation with the clergy of the house. Over the past few months, he and Ryan Kehoe kept busy finding things to do, even as opportunities were limited due to the pandemic restrictions.
A couple of weeks ago, as he was preparing to conclude his Pastoral Year, Grant approached me to inform me that he had prayerfully come to the decision that he planned to step away from priestly formation for the time being. On the one hand, this was sad news as he has demonstrated so many fine qualities that would serve him and the faithful well as a priest. At the same time, I know Grant is at peace with his decision, knowing that it comes after having fully invested himself over the past year. He leaves the Cathedral and seminary formation a better man, and in that sense, this is not a loss for the Church, for I have no doubt Grant will continue to put the gifts he has developed in seminary and here at the Cathedral at the service of the Church in some fashion. In the end, God’s will is being done, which is all any of us should ever hope to do, and I fully believe that Grant is being obedient to what he believes God’s will is for him at this time in his life.
As Rector and Vocation Director for the diocese, I take this opportunity to thank Grant for his time here at the Cathedral over the past year, and for the several years of seminary formation with our diocese. I know that Father House, my predecessor as Rector, echoes these sentiments. We assure Grant of our prayers in thanksgiving for what he has shared with this Cathedral Parish for the past year and we pray for many blessings upon him in whatever lies ahead.
Father Alford is the Rector of the Cathedral and serves in the diocesan curia as the Vicar for Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations.