Father Corey Bilodeau was ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ for the Diocese of Lansing on Saturday, June 10, 2023. Deo gratias! For the past five months, he has served as Parochial Vicar at Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish and Saint John Church & Student Center in East Lansing. So how is it all going? Here is what Father Bilodeau has to say in this first-person article penned to mark National Vocations Awareness Week (November 5-11). He writes:
"Oh what a time to be a priest."
"Being a priest has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. If I had died the day after being ordained by Bishop Boyea on June 10th, it would have been worth it. Having the privilege to say mass at my home parish, to hold Jesus Christ in my hands and bring Him to His children, made the last six years of seminary and nine years of discernment worth it. Jesus Christ has called me to this life and it has been a blast."
"The past five months since ordination have been a whirlwind. I am still getting the hang of everything, trying to get a grip on the busyness and the chaotic schedule that is St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John Student Center in East Lansing. They have welcomed me with open arms and I have already been blessed hundredfold. Still as a baby priest, I have gotten to do so much. God has already used me in amazing ways to bring His grace and His mercy to those who need it. I have done: one baptism, three weddings, three committals, four funerals, 49 anointings, and heard 806 confessions."
"God is keeping me very busy as I am primarily doing college ministry and young adult ministry and with early mornings and late nights, there is a lot to do. But with it all, it is God who is sustaining me. It is He who gives me the strength every day to walk into the unknown, not knowing what to say or what to do and He gives me the grace to be Him for the people He has put in front of me."
"I get the opportunity to walk into a person or a family’s life in the best of times, but also the worst of times, and bring them God, giving them hope to know that there is light in this darkness, that the Dawn is approaching."
"Two moments stand out. The first was in confession which is one of my favorite things about the priesthood. Although I still have a lot to learn, I was able to be God’s instrument that brought His mercy and peace to a person who thought that this was the end, that there was no way God could forgive them or even love them again. Being able to bring God’s unconditional love to heal some pain and brokenness and a person's life truly makes me feel like the Father that I am."
"The second was when I got an emergency call to the hospital late at night saying that the family was asking for a priest as the patient most likely wouldn't survive the next hour. I rushed over there as fast as I could and before I could enter the room, the nurse stopped me and told me the patient had just died. I arrived minutes too late and as I entered that hospital room, the only thing I could do was to say a few prayers with the family, but mostly, I just stood there in silence. And as I felt completely helpless and useless, God reminded me that I brought Him to this family, to be a beacon of light, to give them hope in the Resurrection. I left thanking God that I was able to be there for that family."
"I lean on the words from St. John Vianney: 'If we had not the Sacrament of Orders, we should not have Our Lord. Who placed Him there, in that tabernacle? It was the priest. Who was it that received your soul, on its entrance into life? The priest. Who nourishes it, to give it strength to make its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing that soul, for the last time, in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest -- always the priest. And if that soul comes to the point of death, who will raise it up, who will restore it to calmness and peace? Again the priest. You cannot recall one single blessing from God without finding, side by side with this recollection, the image of the priest'.”
"God has called me to be His priest. O what a life!"
* To know more about the vocation to the sacred priesthood, go to: https://www.dioceseoflansing.org/vocations