By Terry Dean
(Courtesy Archdiocese of Chicago)
Phillip Owen, 26, says he has always felt the Blessed Mother watching over him. Born and raised in St. Luke Parish in River Forest, Owen is the eighth of 10 children in his family. The experience of growing up in a large family served him well, he said. "I learned at an early age what it meant to sacrifice, share with others, and be generous with my time," he said. "My parents instilled in me the importance of sharing with others, being respectful of others, the importance of Sunday Mass, and the importance of daily prayer."
He also learned the joy of assisting at liturgies when he was quite young, becoming an altar server after his first communion.
"As a young boy in grade school I enjoyed getting out of class to serve funerals on Tuesday mornings," he recalled. "Looking back now, I believe that God blessed me with special graces for all the time I assisted at liturgy at a young age. My favorite thing to do was serve Benediction on Monday nights during the summer months. I believe that being surrounded by so much grace at a young age allowed me to say yes to the priesthood."
His time at Fenwick High School helped develop his desire to serve, especially when he was in the campus ministry outreach group his junior and senior years. "I have always enjoyed doing service for others; working at soup kitchens, hospitals, nursing homes, neighborhood cleanups, etc.," he said.
When his older brother, Peter, announced that he was entering Mundelein Seminary in 2003, Phillip Owen began to ask himself if God was calling him to be a priest. "After four years of college seminary, and after much prayer, growth and discernment, I was certain that God was in fact calling me to serve him as a priest," Owen said. "After four years at Mundelein, I am ready to begin parish ministry on the South Side at St. Cajetan Parish.
"I can only say that it is with great expectations and great enthusiasm that I move into ministry as a priest. I am looking forward to the great moments as well as the times when we must imitate Christ's victimhood. I want to be a priest because this is what God willed for me. I want it because he wants it. He is perfect and can only ask us to do things that will completely satisfy us and make us happy. I have learned to ask Mary for everything, especially the grace to imitate her example of surrender and trust in God's Holy Will."
First assignment: St. Cajetan
First Mass: May 22, 11 a.m., St. Mary of the Angels
Education: St. Luke School, River Forest; Fenwick High School, Oak Park; St. Joseph Seminary at Loyola University; University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary
Parents: Mary (Mazeikas) and David Owen
Owen and nine other men are being ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago this weekend. Click here for info on all 10 nine priests.