ALLOUEZ —A sense of calmness came over Deacon Matthew Faucett as he discussed his anticipation for Saturday, June 22, when he will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop David Ricken at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay.
“There is a lot of peace for me,” he said. “I’m excited to be ordained. I’m blessed by how gracious and how generous people are.”
Ordination marks a homecoming for Deacon Faucett, 26. For the last four years, he studied at Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was ordained to the diaconate in September 2018 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
“You get to this point, at least for me, and I’m ready to be home,” he said. “Rome is great, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but there’s something about being home.”
Deacon Faucett, the son of Joseph and Sally Faucett, was born in Lake Forest, Ill., and baptized at St. Mary Church in Crivitz by Fr. Don Burkart, a friend of the family. He grew up in Lake Villa, Ill., but spent summers in the Marinette/Menominee area, where his family relocated in 2004. Deacon Faucett’s home parish is Holy Family in Marinette.
While growing up in the Chicago area, the seed of his vocation was planted, said Deacon Faucett. Fr. Rich Yanos, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, served as a good faith model.
“He will be coming to my ordination and first Mass,” said Deacon Faucett. “He was very inspirational and was really engaged in our lives as kids. My parents are pretty friendly with priests. We always had different priests coming to our house. I think I was in second grade when I first thought, ‘I could be a priest,’ but I put that aside.”
Following graduation from St. Thomas Aquinas Academy in 2011, Deacon Faucett attended Marquette University in Milwaukee. He met some Jesuit priests who assisted him in formation and discernment.
“I knew that something wasn’t quite working out there,” he said. “I was doing Army ROTC and studying construction engineering. It was a lot of fun, but I knew there was something missing. In talking to the priests, it came up again, the call to the priesthood.”
He spoke with Fr. Joe Dorner, pastor at his home parish at the time and received a call from Fr. Daniel Schuster, who was vocation director for the diocese. Deacon Faucett applied for seminary and started at St. Mary’s University and Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minn., in the fall of 2012.
Deacon Faucett credits Msgr. Thomas Melvin, who was rector at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, for his guidance.
“He was really supportive and inspirational in the fundamentals like prayer,” said Deacon Faucett.
While in his third year in Winona, he found out that he would be continuing his studies in Rome. The invitation was presented by Fr. Schuster, while Deacon Faucett was in Green Bay for a Packer game.
“He asked me at a church, I believe it was SS. Peter and Paul on the east side of Green Bay, in a confessional because Mass was going on,” explained Deacon Faucett. “I was going back on Monday to St. Mary’s, so this was his last chance. He said, ‘Where you are going, you don’t need a car.’ I was very confused. He said, ‘Bishop would like to send you to Rome.’ It was a great blessing and really a surprise for me. It’s been really beautiful to learn about Christ and the church in the heart of the church.”
In addition to the Diocese of Green Bay, Deacon Faucett is a member of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, which provides ministry to all Catholics serving in the military branches. Deacon Faucett will serve three years as a priest in the diocese and then a minimum of five years as an Army chaplain in the Archdiocese of the Military. He comes from a military family. His father is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army. His brothers, Nathan and Joseph, both serve in the military. Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services will attend the ordination.
This past year, Deacon Faucett served as a deacon at Aviano Air Base in Northern Italy, where he preached once or twice a month. He also preached at Christmas Masses in Marinette this past year and at Corpus Christi Church in Sturgeon Bay and St. Mary Church in Maplewood over Christmas break. He served at the two parishes last summer. Fr. Carl Schmitt, pastor at Corpus Christi and St. Mary, will vest Deacon Faucett at the ordination Mass.
“You can only do so many practice homilies,” said Deacon Faucett. “If anything has changed this year, it has been preaching. You start out and are not as confident, and then you grow.”
His first Mass as a priest will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 23, at the Our Lady of Lourdes site of Holy Family Parish, Marinette. He won’t be preaching though. Fr. Ralph D’Elia, a close friend and classmate, who is a priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla., will serve as the homilist.
Looking back on his faith journey, Deacon Faucett said that his vocation would not have been possible without the support of his parents.
“For myself and my two brothers, they always made it a point to mention the priesthood as an option,” he said.
His first appointment following ordination will be as parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier Parish, De Pere, and St. Mary Parish, Ledgeview, where he will serve with Fr. Richard Getchel, pastor.
“We make a promise to pray the Liturgy of the Hours at diaconate ordination,” said Deacon Faucett. “When I open up my breviary, I now have a sense, I now know, I get to pray for a specific place, the parishes where I’m assigned. I feel blessed.”