In Your Midst

Congratulations, Father Todd!

Sept. 2009


Ordinations 2009

Cathedral parishioner Todd Strange was ordained a priest in St. James Cathedral on June 13 of this year, along with four other men.  In his homily, Archbishop Brunett pointed out  that Todd was the first person whom he both baptized and ordained a priest!

Just before his ordination, Todd reflected on his seminary experience and the impact St. James Cathedral parish has had on his vocation.

“I was baptized at St. James Cathedral at the Easter Vigil, 2001.  Almost the moment I came into the community, I wanted to do ministry.  The more I did, the more I felt a call to a life of service.  Father Ryan, of course, has been a model for me.  It was Father Peter Chirico who asked me whether I’d ever thought about being a priest, and that really made all the difference.”

Todd entered Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, in the fall of 2003.  The seminary was founded by the Priests of the Sacred Heart and specializes in “second career” seminarians, men who hear the call to ministry later in life.  The average age for seminarians at Hales Corners is 44.  The program is predicated on allowing seminarians to develop in four areas—academic/intellectual, pastoral, spiritual, and human (personal wellbeing).

“It’s like an academic institution in many ways, but the program involves spiritual direction, community life, and communal liturgy several times daily.  I went to seminary without an exact idea of how it would all unfold, and without fixed expectations,” Todd says.  “From the outset, though, I felt trust in the diocese and in the seminary, and I left it in their hands, trusting they would sufficiently prepare me for ordination and for priestly ministry.  As a result, I ended up pursuing things I wouldn’t have considered on my own—learning Spanish, for example.  That’s turned out to be a huge part of my formation.”
Formation in the Archdiocese of Seattle also includes a Pastoral Year, a year spent in a parish community, immersed in its day to day life.  For Todd, this year was spent at St. Anthony’s in Renton, under the supervision of Father Gary Zender.  “Father Zender was a wonderful model for me as a priest; he had a great balance of devotion to his work and self-care.  I lived with three priests, and we ate meals and prayed together.  St. Anthony’s is a diverse, large community with a school, and there were all sorts of opportunities for ministry.  I was able to oversee the confirmation program—fifty kids and adults.  Teaching and coordinating the confirmation team were great challenges.  I was also given opportunities to do a variety of ministry experiences, making sick calls, preaching at daily Masses, and presiding at graveside services.  I felt the support the people had for me.”

On Sunday, June 14, Father Strange offered his “first Mass,” his Mass of Thanksgiving, at St. James Cathedral.  The Cathedral and its parish community have been a source of grace along his journey.

“Who I am as a Catholic and what I will be as a priest has been shaped by my experience of this community.  The people—their love, their support—has shaped me.  This community will go with me in all I do.”

Photo Album: Rev. Todd Strange Mass of Thanksgiving June 14, 2009
Photo Album: Ordinations to the Priesthood June 13, 2009

Maria Laughlin is the Director of Stewardship and Development at St. James Cathedral

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