Deacon Childers to be ordained to the priesthood on July 8

On Divine Mercy Sunday, April 16, 2023, Deacon Timothy Childers opened the field show at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Watch the livestream here.

Scenes from the Ordination Mass.

“I am most excited to see how and where the Lord wishes to use me as a priest. it is those unexpected gifts that the Lord has in store that I am most looking forward to.”

By Dr. Joe McAleer

On Saturday, July 8, Deacon Timothy John Childers, MIC, will be ordained to the priesthood for the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception at St. Stephen Church in Riverview, Florida. 

The 11:00 a.m. Mass will be celebrated by the Most Rev. Martin D. Holley, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee.

“I am most excited to see how and where the Lord wishes to use me as a priest,” Deacon Timothy says. “Obviously celebrating the Mass and dispensing God’s mercy in the confessional are both highly anticipated gifts. Yet, it is those unexpected gifts that the Lord has in store that I am most looking forward to.”

Unexpected blessing
Deacon Timothy joined the Marians in 2013, and was ordained to the transitional diaconate last September. Since then, he has spent most of his time at the Marian House of Studies in Steubenville, Ohio, preaching to seminarians and to students and faculty at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He has also served as chaplain to one of the dormitories on campus. 

“The biggest unexpected blessing of being a Deacon is the ability to preach at Mass,” he says. “While I have never been someone who enjoyed speaking in front of others, I have found much joy in praying and studying the Scripture verses for the next Mass, conversing with God about what He would like me to share with the people at Mass.” 

On Divine Mercy Sunday at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy this year, Deacon Timothy opened the field show with a powerful overview of the Divine Mercy message and spirituality.

“Jesus doesn’t ask us to do anything that He hasn’t first done,” he told 15,000 pilgrims. “While Jesus was fully God, He was also fully man, so He constantly prayed to the Father for strength, for assistance to go ahead and carry the burdens that were asked to be placed on Him. And that is the example that we should adhere to, that we ourselves are to pray, so that we not only receive God’s mercy, but that we can be small ‘Christs’ out in the world, giving mercy to others.”

Catholic convert
A native of Tampa Bay, Florida, Deacon Timothy, 46, is a convert to Catholicism, having been raised a Lutheran. A spontaneous invitation from a Catholic friend to join her at Mass changed his life. 

"I realized there was something deeper inside me that was longing for God, and I didn't even know it,” he recalls. “I heard the Lord speaking to me in my heart. I never had the ears to hear that before. It was impossible to ignore. God wanted a relationship with me. I felt like a new man. My whole life was given new color and depth, a sense of joy and hopefulness.” 

He embarked on intense study of the Catholic faith. “I started going to Eucharistic Adoration, and would read St. Faustina’s Diary there,” Deacon Timothy says. “As I learned about Pope John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body,’ I considered for the first time a vocation to celibacy and the priesthood.” 

A conduit of God’s love
His vocational journey jump-started with a “Come and See” retreat with the Marians. “Father Donald Calloway’s conversion story resonated with me, as did the lives of saints like Augustine and Francis,” Deacon Timothy says. “I realized I can invite God’s grace into my life, be a conduit of His love, and change the world for the better.”

Following his priestly ordination, Fr. Timothy will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday, July 9 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Stephen Church.
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