A former Pentecostal minister and married father of five has been approved for ordination by the Vatican. Deacon Drake McCalister will become the first married priest to be ordained in Steubenville Diocese, in Ohio. He will be ordained on December 19.
McCalister served as a Pentecostal pastor for 13 years but resigned his pastorate after he began to be drawn to Catholicism. He was ordained to the diaconate in 2018.
Catholic News Agency reported that McCalister was first drawn to the Catholic Church after listening to a Catholic radio show. He said the more he listened, the more he felt drawn to the Catholic Church and started to do his own research.
After five years of study and discussions with his wife, the pair decided to join the Catholic Church with their children in 2004. But it was only in 2010 that McCalister considered ordination. Catholic News Agency reported that he will draw from his family life in homilies and is most excited for “life in the spirit and engagement in the mission”.
In 2016, McCalister wrote about his conversion in the Steubenville Fuel. He said he first attended Catholic Mass on a holiday in Utah, 800 miles from his home. He wrote that he initially feared members of the Catholic Church would be “cold, disinterested and inhospitable”. However, he said: “At the end of the liturgy, God gave me the greatest gift possible for my first Mass.” A parishioner turned to him and invited him for coffee. That experience changed McCalister’s view on the Church and from that moment: “I was regularly surprised how often I found zealous and engaging people with whom I could connect” in the Catholic Church.