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Raising a priest

As Jennifer J. (Dundon) and John H. Sanderson look forward to the June ordination to the priesthood of their son, Joseph J., they feel blessed with gratitude and joy.
And they pray for him: that his heart and soul are open to the grace and gifts that will be given to him.
Now a transitional deacon, he will be ordained to the priesthood by Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne on Saturday, June 17, at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.
The eldest of three siblings, Deacon Sanderson always was placed under Our Lady’s mantle; his parents also placed him in the care of The Holy Family, St. Theresa and his guardian angel.
“I started to practice and understand my faith when Joseph was in middle school,” his mother said. “John was given the grace to join the Catholic Church after going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Making a commitment to God we have tried to live out the faith daily.”
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, the Sandersons began praying the rosary and other devotions together with their family. “We also began going on small pilgrimages with others. Mass, adoration and sacraments have been the most important,” Mrs. Sanderson explained.
Residents of Chester who own a house in Orwell, Mrs. and Mrs. Sanderson attend St. Joseph the Worker Church in Chester.
They have supported their son on his journey to priesthood through prayer and love and also by being with him throughout his formation including the Rite of Candidacy, ministry of lector, ministry of acolyte and transitional diaconate.
“In thanksgiving, we try to live prayerfully and faithfully along with [Joseph] on his journey,” Mr. Sanderson said.
“Joseph is our joy. He is joyful, loving, kind, obedient, faithful, non-judgmental and patient,” his mother said. “He has an openness to all, those who are both close to and far from God, always taking people where they are at. Joseph is self-giving to others and their needs. He loves the little things in life. He is a hockey lover. He loves to be outside, hiking and biking.”
When they discuss their son, the Sandersons think of the Gospel of John when Jesus said, "Peace be with you.”
“I believe Joseph possesses this peace, not a peace of the world, but an inner peace... the certainty of knowing Jesus Christ is Lord and the acceptance and knowledge that we are loved unconditionally by God,” Mrs. Sanderson said.
The Sandersons’ advice for parents who have a child considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life is to understand that they have been blessed with their children's openness to be called to that life and to pray unceasingly for all graces for them.
--Originally published in the July 1, 2017 The Inland See.
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