The Diocese of Burlington has two new priests: Father Gregory Caldwell and Father Brandon Schneider.

They were ordained May 21 by Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne at St. Joseph Cathedral in Burlington during a special Mass attended by numerous priests of the Diocese, visiting clergy the faithful from throughout Vermont.

In his homily, the bishop referred to the Gospel passage. “Jesus stands in the midst of the people of Nazareth, the town in which He grew up, and announces that He is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy — ‘Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.’ There is no equivocation. No ‘consider perhaps’ or ‘maybe’ in what He is saying.  The meaning of this statement is clear. He is the Messiah.”

From this moment in Nazareth, there is no turning back, there is no looking back. The die is cast. Jesus knows what lies ahead, but He is obedient to the will of the Father, obedient even unto death. In full freedom, He moves forward on the path that He has chosen to accept as true man and true God. In His humanity He offers the purest example of trust that God’s will be done.

“Gregg and Brandon, this ordination is your ‘Nazareth moment.’ You will soon stand before us to publicly affirm in full freedom of intellect and will that you wish to be ordained by the Church for the holy priesthood of Christ,” the bishop said. “Brandon and Gegg, from this Nazareth moment there is no turning back, no looking back but only a movement forward in the joy of the priesthood. As a brother priest and your bishop, I can tell you that there can be no equivocation in your acceptance of this ministry. Your acceptance of the vocation to the priesthood closes the door on many possibilities in your lives and opens the door to so many great and wonderful works.”

Bishop Coyne said the priest is configured to Christ; the life of the priest is one in which he too is both offerer and offering. “Hence, we are ordained to serve, not to be served, to be His hands, His eyes, His voice to those who need to hear it.”

Father Caldwell, a 2008 graduate of Essex High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Michigan and worked as a software engineer before entering the seminary. A convert to Catholicism, he was received into the Church at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2013.

Father Schneider, a 1996 graduate of U-32 Middle and High School in Montpelier, received a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University in history and Russian in 2000 and a master’s degree from Georgetown University in Russian history in 2002. He worked in the Admissions Office at Georgetown University School of Medicine where he was assistant dean for admissions for almost five years before entering the Order of Preachers (Dominicans).  After leaving the Dominicans, he worked at Northwestern University before entering formation for the Diocese of Burlington in 2020.

Through the Laying on of Hands and the Prayer of Ordination, the gift of the Holy Spirit for the priestly office was conferred on the new priests. The other priests present at the Mass also lay hands on them to signify incorporation into the priesthood.

The bishop anointed the new priests’ hands with sacred chrism, saying, “The Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, guard you and preserve you, that you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifice to God.”

After the conclusion of the nearly 2-hour Mass, Fathers Caldwell and Schneider blessed people who lined up for their blessing at the front of the cathedral.

Father Schneider will serve as parochial vicar of Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Bethel,

Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Randolph and St. John the Evangelist Parish in Northfield effective Aug. 15. He will continue summer studies in Canon Law through the Catholic University of America.

Father Caldwell has been assigned as parochial vicar of St. Michael Parish in Brattleboro effective June 8.

—The Vocations Office of the Diocese of Burlington is supported by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.

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