Assists at First Mass

Conor Sullivan, center, who graduated from St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, was ordained as a transitional deacon Saturday, May 4. He assisted with his first Mass as a deacon Sunday, May 5, at Our Lady of Lourdes, his home parish. Deacon Sullivan is pictured with the Father Seisl Council Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, Washington. From left are Tom Dowil, Melvin Weber, Deacon Sullivan, Gary Marquart and John Jasper. Sullivan attends the Kenrick School of Theology III, St. Louis, where he will continue to study to be ordained as a priest.        Submitted Photo.

A St. Francis Borgia Regional High School graduate, Conor Sullivan, was ordained a transitional deacon Saturday, May 4, at the Cathedral Basilica, St. Louis

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson ordained Sullivan with five other men. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Deacon Sullivan assisted at his first Mass the following day at Our Lady of Lourdes in Washington, his home parish.

“He was all smiles and enthusiastic,” said Father Mike Boehm, Our Lady of Lourdes pastor. “He looked very at home. This is a sign of many good things to come for him.”

Father Mike said Deacon Sullivan’s accomplishment is something the whole community can be proud of.

“He was educated here and influenced by the strong faith of people around here. He was encouraged and supported by their prayers,” he said.

Deacon Sullivan said assisting at his first Mass was an “incredible” experience.

“The part that struck me . . . was when I was holding the chalice as (Father Mike) was saying the final doxology and holding it up in front of the people. That’s when it became real,” he said. “It was certainly an honor to be with my pastor.”

Father Mike has been one of mentors throughout the years, Sullivan said.

The son of Laura Sullivan and the late Christopher Sullivan and one of six children, Conor is originally from Affton. His family moved to Labadie when he was 2 years old.

Deacon Sullivan attended Our Lady of Lourdes through eighth grade and graduated from SFBRHS in 2007.

Deacon Sullivan said he knew he wanted to attend seminary at the end of his junior year at Borgia. Seminary, he said, is more of a place of discernment.

It was in seminary that he “knew for sure God was calling me in this direction,” he said.

“Living the life of the seminary you look back on your time there and realize God has been helping you living (the right way) already,” he said, adding that his life has been “a collection of graces that God has bestowed on me.”

Deacon Sullivan’s ultimate goal is to become a priest.

There are three levels of holy orders — deacon, priest and bishop. Additionally, there are two types of deacons. A permanent deacon will stay a deacon while a transitional deacon continues to study for the priesthood.

Deacon Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College Seminary. He has served supervised ministry at Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Ambrose, St. Richard, St. Ann and St. John the Baptist.

He currently attends Kenrick School of Theology, St. Louis.

Deacon Sullivan said it typically takes about one year to be ordained a priest after being ordained a deacon, but can take as long as three years.

Because he is a diocesan priest, he will be placed at a parish in the diocese in St. Louis.

“As far as hopes, I find myself attracted to so much of it,” Deacon Sullivan said.

Throughout his life, Deacon Sullivan said he would like to teach high school, help in hospitals and soup kitchens, serve the poor, bring Communion to the sick, help with youth groups and do whatever God leads him to.

“I’m excited to serve the church. Life has been an incredible blessing so far and I know God has much more in store for me,” he said.

Deacon Sullivan said his ordination ceremony was profound.

At the ordination, there’s a period during the saints’ intercession where those being ordained lie down on their stomachs as a symbol of laying down their life for church and God.

“I remember laying down and feeling the cold marble and asking myself if ‘Is this real?,’ ” he said. “It’s a really incredible feeling.”

Another poignant part of the ceremony was when the prayer of consecration was said.

“It was a very breath-taking ceremony and I won’t soon forget it, that’s for sure,” he said.

A celebration was held for Deacon Sullivan Sunday at Our Lady of Lourdes this past weekend, hosted by the St. Brenadette’s Sodality and Holy Name Society.