St. Al alumnus will soon be ordained

Published 10:29 pm Friday, April 29, 2016

A Vicksburg native will soon be called priest.

Jason Johnston will be ordained in the Diocese of Jackson Saturday, May 14 and will say mass at St. Paul Catholic Church at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 15.

Johnston said he has thought about becoming ordained since he was a student at St. Aloysius but really felt the call just before he chose to go to seminary.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“The year before I entered, I kind of began to hear God’s voice calling. All my life I’ve thought about it,” Johnston said. “I’ve always felt a call to serve and a call to love God and to love God’s people.”

Thursday, Johnston was traveling to a seven-day retreat of silence before his ordination.

“You have to do it before ordination to priesthood,” Johnston said. “Those are just steps along the way.”

Another step on that journey happened last May when Johnston was ordained as a Deacon. He said becoming a Deacon for the final year of seminary is part of the process.

Johnston grew up attending St. Paul Catholic Church and coming back to say his first mass there means a lot to him. There were several priests from the church that heavily influenced him like the Rev. Tom McGing, the Rev. Patrick Farrell and the Rev. Tom Lalor.

“That’s the church I was baptized in, where I was confirmed and where I grew up and went to church with my family my whole life,” Johnston said.

Johnston attended Vicksburg Catholic Schools and went to Mississippi State University for five years. He worked for the state of Mississippi for two years. He then attended Saint Joseph Seminary College in Covington, La. for two years and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans for four years.

Johnston said it is tradition for the newly ordained priest to choose an influential person in their life who they respect to preach at the first mass. Johnston has chosen the Rev. James Wehner rector of Notre Dame Seminary.

“I think he’s a great priestly witness,” Johnston said.

The Rev. Tom Lalor of St. Paul said a committee was putting together a reception for Johnston after the service.

“It’s a big deal for us and a big deal for Mississippi. He’s a wonderful fellow,” Lalor said.

Lalor is confident in Johnston’s abilities and is excited to have in back in Vicksburg for the day. He said Johnston couldn’t be a nicer person.

“When he becomes a priest people will flock to him. That’s the kind if guy he is—he’s a very humble, nice guy,” Lalor said.

Johnston is scheduled to become the associate pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Madison.