April 20, 2019
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Portland Native and Saint Joseph’s College Graduate to Be Ordained to the Priesthood

Community Author: Dave Guthro, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
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Dave Guthro, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland | BDN
Dave Guthro, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland | BDN

PORTLAND—Deacon Kevin Upham, a Portland native and graduate of Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Robert P. Deeley on Saturday, May 26, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. All are welcome and encouraged to attend the celebration. Deacon Kevin has completed his clerical studies at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts.

“It’s crazy because, when I think about, when I first started, this moment felt so far away,” said Deacon Kevin. “Seminary went slowly at first, and then, it kind of flew by. It’s been quite the journey. It’s not the end. This is just the beginning.”

The beginning to his journey to the priesthood can be traced back to early life. Born in Portland, Deacon Kevin and his family moved to Holliston, Massachusetts, when he was six months old. He would grow up in the town, located about thirty miles southwest of Boston. At the age of 13, he first had thoughts of becoming a priest one day.

“I am an only child, but my parents, grandparents, and other relatives helped me develop my Catholic faith,” he said. “It was and is truly a gift to have these wonderful people of faith in my life to guide me along the way.”

Deacon Kevin returned to Maine to attend Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, where he earned a degree in communications. After college, Kevin spent six years working for a bank but, along the way, he always felt a special connection to the Church.

“In college, I was very active in campus ministry and participated twice in the Spring Break Workfest program serving at the Passamaquoddy Indian Township Reservation. This was a wonderful experience. Upon entering the workforce, I helped in other ministries. I did jail ministry for about a year providing communion services. After that, I led communion services at the Veterans’ Home in Scarborough. During my time at the bank, I continued to be a lector at church. These experiences provided a window into what a future in the priesthood could mean.”

In 2012, Kevin discerned further, entering St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, the nation’s first and oldest seminary.

“My experiences there really opened my eyes to the depth of the Church,” he said. “In particular, the study of Scripture has been of deep interest for me, and I have a deepened appreciation for the Bible. Additionally, I made many great friends who are from other dioceses and from other countries.”

In August of 2016, he continued his clerical studies at Saint John’s Seminary. Along the way, he completed summer assignments at parishes in Augusta, Old Town, Bangor, Rumford, and Portland, and participated in the clinical pastoral education program at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

“I enjoyed working with the chaplains at Maine Medical Center very much,” said Kevin. “It was a very collaborative experience. The team there is wonderful. I look forward to future opportunities in hospital ministry.”

Last June, Upham was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Deeley, indicating that although he will always be a deacon by virtue of his ordination, the expectation was that he would one day be ordained to the priesthood.

As that day approaches, Deacon Kevin is filled with joy and gratitude. His parents, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, as well as former neighbors and co-workers will gather together on May 26 to watch the boy who once served as lector at St. Mary Church in Holliston become a priest.

“I am very excited and looking forward to it!” said Deacon Kevin. “I look forward to spending my life delivering the message of God’s love. I am optimistic about the future of the Church in Maine, and I look forward to doing my part to shine the light of Christ in this state.”

Media members are welcome to cover the ordination on May 26. For more information, contact Dave Guthro, Communications Director for the Diocese of Portland, at (207) 321-7810 or dave.guthro@portlanddiocese. org.