ALLOUEZ — Patrick Costello anticipates feeling God’s presence when he receives the sacrament of holy orders on Oct. 1 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Costello will be ordained a deacon, along with his classmates from the Pontifical North American College class of 2021. He is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Green Bay next summer.
“Through this sacrament, I expect the Lord to pour into my soul abundant grace so that I can be configured to Christ the Servant and remain faithful in his service for the good of his people and for the salvation of my soul,” he said.
Unfortunately, at press time, Costello’s friends and family from the United States are unable to attend the ordination due to travel restrictions. Supporters in attendance will include Bishop Bill Muhm of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, his Navy chaplain for four years; Ton Ettler, a family friend from the Czech Republic; and Matt Colle and Ben Pribbenow, seminarians from the Diocese of Green Bay who are also studying in Rome.
Costello will be vested at the ordination Mass by Fr. Randy Soto, who serves at the Pontifical North American College.
“I asked him because the deacon is ordained to serve,” he said, “and Fr. Soto has been a great example of what priestly service looks like as he has served me as my spiritual director over the past three years.”
Costello, the son of John and Eileen Costello of Naples, Fla., has studied theology at the Gregorian and Angelicum universities in Rome since 2017. He previously studied philosophy at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago.
St. Margaret Mary in Neenah is Costello’s home parish. He was born in Parish, Texas, and grew up in Neenah from age 9. Following graduation from Neenah High School in 2009, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., to study oceanography. Costello graduated in 2013 and was commissioned as a surface warfare officer in the Navy. Following a tour of Japan aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, he was permitted to transfer into the U.S. Navy Reserve as a chaplain candidate seminarian with the Diocese of Green Bay and the Archdiocese for the Military Services.
Costello is thankful for his ministry experiences as a seminarian, including teaching faith formation to middle and high school students. He has served summer pastoral assignments in the diocese at St. Mary Magdalene Parish, Waupaca, and Holy Family Parish, Brillion.
“I also have had opportunities for mission-like work with the poor in Peru and teaching English in China to university students with a Catholic mission team,” he said. “In Italy, I have been serving American families of the Catholic chapel community at the U.S. Navy base in Naples.”
His experience in Rome has helped him grow in his faith and prayer life, especially through liturgy, he added.
“The highlight of our week here is holy Mass on Sundays when the seminarians and priests on faculty offer praises and worship of the living God,” he explained. “Sunday Mass at the NAC (North American College) includes sacred Catholic elements like candles, incense, the Asperges (the rite of sprinkling holy water) and Gregorian chant. All five senses are engaged, and, over the years, this solemn celebration of the liturgy really fires in the heart a desire and love for meeting the Lord face to face in the sacraments of his church.”
Costello’s Mass of Thanksgiving as a deacon will be celebrated on Oct. 2, the feast day of the Guardian Angels, at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. Bishop Muhm will serve as the celebrant. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Costello does not expect to return over Christmas to serve as a deacon at Masses in the diocese. He appreciates the “prayers, support and love” from people of the diocese and hopes that more men discern a call to the priesthood.
“I’m so thankful to the Lord for all of you,” he said. “May he bless and keep you. I encourage any young men who feel a desire to serve Christ as an ordained man to honestly seek that desire and see if he is calling you.”