As a Catholic high school student at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School in Peterborough, Deacon Stephen DeCarlo remembers the excitement he felt when the parish priest would enter his school to celebrate mass or to simply walk the halls and chat with students.
“It’s one thing for somebody to see a priest at the church where they may or may not get a chance to even shake his hand, it’s another thing when he comes to you, comes to your school. That very presence is very impactful and very meaningful,” the 29-year-old said.
That relationship between the church and Catholic school community is top of mind for Deacon Stephen. In just a few weeks, on May 25, Peterborough Bishop Daniel Miehm will ordain Deacon Stephen to the priesthood.
Deacon Stephen will then take on his new role as Associate Pastor of St. Mary Parish in Lindsay, where he will be serving four PVNC schools – St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School and St. Mary, St. Dominic and St. John Paul II Catholic elementary schools.
“ONE THING THAT WILL BE REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME AS A PRIEST IS TO REALLY ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY."
“If I was to reflect on my time in the Catholic school system…I loved it when I saw the priest come to the school, so I believe the presence of a priest in the school is very important,” he said. “One thing that will be really important to me as a priest is to really establish a relationship with the school community."
Having recently finished his studies at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Scarborough, where he earned a Master’s in Divinity, Deacon Stephen paid a visit to Holy Cross CSS last week to reflect on his time there (2003 to 2007).
He was joined by PVNC Director of Education Michael Nasello, Fr. John Perdue, Director of Vocations at the Diocese of Peterborough, and recently retired Holy Cross religion teacher Warren Chambers.
The group spoke about the theme of Catholic Education Week 2018 – Renewing the Promise.