Bishop Morlino hands Deacon Petrica the Book of the Gospels, instructing him as a “herald” to believe, teach, and practice the Good News of Jesus Christ. Catholic Herald photo/Kat Wagner
To view or purchase photos from this event go to: madisoncatholicherald.smugmug.com
MADISON -- Steve Petrica, a former Anglican priest who was received into the Catholic Church in 2006, was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Robert C. Morlino during the Cathedral Parish’s 11 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick Church on Sunday, Feb. 10.
He is expected to be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Madison with two other deacons (Deacon Garrett Kau and Deacon Vince Brewer) on May 24 at St. Maria Goretti Church in Madison.
In his homily at the Mass, Bishop Morlino reflected on the prayer life that cultivates the diaconal life of service and supports and strengthens the transitional deacon’s and the priest’s call to celibacy.
“The lips of the priest and the deacon have been purified, just as were the lips of the prophet Isaiah with a burning coal, so that they may proclaim the Gospel worthily and well,” Bishop Morlino said. “The second part of the prayer life has to do with a complete entrustment of self to God’s grace.”
And the third part, he said, drawing the parallel with the Gospel reading’s account of Peter obeying Christ in returning to cast his nets, is obedience.
History of a conversion
Originally from Baltimore, Md., Petrica received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Gordon College near Boston, followed by a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University and a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins.
He worked in psychotherapy for 14 years, followed by work in the public health field and then research at the University of Maryland Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
He also consulted in behavioral health in Maryland and was director of quality improvement at an adolescent residential treatment center in Baltimore.
As an Anglican priest, he served as an Anglican chaplain at Yale and as a pastor of a church in Arlington, Va.
After discerning his conversion to Roman Catholicism, Petrica was received into the Roman Catholic Church on October 9, 2006 in New York City.
He considered the monastic life, drawn to a monastery in Wisconsin, but after learning of its impending closure, he moved to La Crosse and contacted various dioceses to ask about studying for the Catholic priesthood.
In January 2011, Deacon Petrica entered Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Mich., to study for the Diocese of Madison.