Even before converting to the Catholic faith, the idea of the priesthood intrigued Deacon Steven Reeves. Now less than a decade after joining the church, he is prepared to serve the faithful as a priest.
Deacon Reeves is one of three seminarians who will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz May 25 at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth St. The other two ordinands are: Deacons Anthony Cecil and Kirby Rust.
Deacon Reeves, 33, grew up in a faith-filled house and said it was a “blessing” to have positive role models in his parents and his pastor. He attended Lakewood Baptist Church in Louisville.
“Growing up we were there Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesdays. My mom played the piano and my dad taught Sunday school,” he said in a recent interview.
While attending the University of Kentucky, he became increasingly intrigued by the Catholic Church. When Pope John Paul II — now St. John Paul II — died, he said he became glued to the coverage of the pontiff’s death.
“That happened my freshman year. His health had been declining all that year, which was a really rough year for me personally,” he said. “When he passed away, the constant news coverage grabbed my attention in a way I couldn’t explain. I felt attracted to him, the church, the tradition happening around that.”
So he started researching the Catholic Church where any college student would — on Wikipedia.
“As I learned more, I discovered this thing called the Catechism,” he said with a self-deprecating laugh. “I heard stories of people that had converted to Catholicism. I started reading and learning about the church fathers.”
His journey to the church, he said, was largely in his head in the beginning.
“For me, when I discovered the Catholic Church, it made sense. Things fit together. It answered questions I’d been asking and some I didn’t realize I had,” he said.
The history, tradition and the connection to the sacraments proved a powerful attraction as well.
Following his graduation from college, he worked as a high school math teacher. He began attending St. Louis Bertrand Church, where he eventually entered the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.
“During that year, I would find myself thinking about the priesthood. The thought would pop into my head out of nowhere. I’d immediately think ‘What a terrible idea. I’m not even Catholic yet’ ” he said.
But after he joined the church he said he eventually began to acknowledge that he had a real calling to the priesthood.
Following his ordination, Deacon Reeves said he is looking forward to celebrating the sacraments and simply “being” with his parishioners.
Beyond his associate pastor duties, he said he hopes to be able to be involved in the R.C.I.A. ministry.
“It was very important to me. In a similar way I want to be present and be involved in a school,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities to be present and be a resource in whatever way I can.”
Deacon Reeves holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in math from the University of Kentucky. He also has a master’s degree in secondary education from UK. He currently attends St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind., and expects to graduate later this month with a master’s in divinity.
He has been assigned as associate pastor of St. Boniface Church and St. Patrick Church.
His first Mass of Thanksgiving will be May 26 at noon at St. Louis Bertrand Church.