Former Waterbury parishioner ordained to priesthood in Ohio
Newly ordained Father Isaiah Malachi Callan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who grew up in Waterbury, has this advice for men considering the priesthood: “Pray, hope, and ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ to reach out to the vocation director.”
Ordained May 20 by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati, Father Callan, 30, said, “Pray daily and stay close to Christ. As proof of His care for us He died on the cross. He created us and knowing us better than we know ourselves, will guide us where we need to go.”
Hope, he continued, “will always contain things that will get us through the pain and suffering present in all walks of life and lead us to other things more meaningfully wonderful than we could have imagined.”
Quoting Jesus who said, “I will not leave you as orphans” (Jn 14:18), the newly ordained priest said, “He will not leave us alone without aid when we pursue His will in our lives. And perhaps we just might find on the journey who we have sincerely desired to be.”
Reaching out to a vocation director doesn’t mean a man is necessarily called to the priesthood. “It means that we are committed to following Christ wherever He could be calling. Reaching out is a good, practical, and concrete step. Getting more information won’t hurt and two brains are better than one,” Father Callan said. “If we are thinking about the priesthood, it likely will help to discuss the priesthood of Jesus Christ with a person who loves living it every day of their life. The vocation director would certainly be excited to talk about it with us should we … step toward the call of Christ.”
Born in Boston, the son of John and Gena Callan of St. Andrew Parish in Waterbury, he attended Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington then earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio in 2015.
He pursued seminary studies at Mount St. Mary’s School of Theology and Seminary
in Cincinnati, earning a master’s of divinity from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary.
He recalls first hearing the call to priesthood while in high school and learning about priest saints. “There was something different about them that resonated with me,” he said.
Growing up, his parents took him and his 11 siblings to Mass and to catechism classes and encouraged them to sing in the choir. They encouraged them to serve as acolytes, provided a Catholic education, and involved them in community-service opportunities. “As the years went on, their prayerful support, open dispositions, and words of encouragement provided invaluable help in the decision-making phase of the discernment process,” Father Callan said.
He also credited the St. Andrew Parish community with encouraging his vocation: “St. Andrew’s Church educated me in the faith and provided service opportunities in the local community that made me realize that I was called to serve, I could serve even at so young an age, and it brought me out of myself and closer to Christ in others.”
He answered the call to priesthood with prayer, grace, and “a lot of help from a lot of people over the years,” he said, adding “I walked through all the other open doors that I could see in my life. This was the last one still open. Jesus never closed it to me and after walking through the path before me kept unwinding as if to say, ‘Come further up, come further in!’ What I found gave me only more and more reason to run further forward.”
As he entered deeper into the priesthood, Father Callan became more and more aware of God’s grace and the aid that He has given over the years.
Recently, he had the opportunity to return to Vermont and attend a luncheon with many priests of the Diocese of Burlington. At this time for fraternity and food, Archbishop Christopher Coyne and his presbyterate welcomed him with a kindness not unfamiliar to their character but previously unknown by Father Callan.
“This alone was a profoundly humbling experience. Possibly just as profound was what happened throughout the next hour and half. As priests came up to offer their congratulations, I grasped just how many priests had ‘entered and exited’ my life over the years. It was so many more than I remembered!” Father Callan said. “I am sincerely appreciative of the ways in which God has worked and continues to work in my life by His immense and limitless love. I am truly grateful for the inspiring witness of the priests of the Diocese of Burlington and for their hospitality. Seeing their love for the priesthood of Jesus Christ in the way that they live, I am more abundantly aware of the rich faith that is alive in Vermont and the faith-filled hearts and faithful hands of those priests to whom the Body of Christ has been entrusted.”