Jacob McDaniel ordained as priest today in Holy Angels Cathedral

     Jacob McDaniel, 28, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Gary this morning at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary. 
    “It’s the conclusion of a long journey, with the beginning of a new one with Christ,” Father Jacob McDaniel said.
    Father McDaniel will serve his first assignment as associate pastor at St. Michael the Archangel parish in Schererville. Father Martin Dobrzynski, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel, said, “I hope, during his first assignment, Father Jacob gets confident with being a priest and what that means – the blessings and all the demands on his time and patience. That’s my job, to show him the priestly experience.”
    Father McDaniel will celebrate his first Mass of Thanksgiving on June 7 at Queen of All Saints in his hometown of Michigan City. 
     It is a custom in the Roman Catholic Church for a priest to offer blessings to the faithful following his Mass of Thanksgiving the day after his ordination. Father McDaniel will host a first blessing ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m. June 7 in the parking lot of Queen of All Saints, 606 S. Woodland Ave., where well-wishers can greet the him and receive his blessing.
    Father McDaniel’s ordination was also noteworthy for Most Rev. Robert J. McClory, Bishop of Gary. It was the first priestly ordination he presided over since his own episcopal ordination and installation on Feb. 11.
    During his homily at today’s ordination Mass, Most Rev. McClory said Father McDaniel will be a minister of God’s mercy through the words he preaches to a world hurting from COVID-19 and so many injustices.
    “We find ourselves in the midst of a world that is certainly hurting – a world that, itself, has many who are afflicted, broken hearted, who feel trapped, who mourn, whose spirits are faint,” Most Rev. McClory said. “Entrusted to you, Jacob, will be the responsibility to bring to them a comforting word in the fullness of the truth.”
    Attendance at the ordination Mass was limited by social distancing restrictions, but the Mass was livestreamed over diocesan social media platforms and the diocesan website. Father McDaniel’s parents, Mark and Sharon McDaniel, were among those who witnessed the ordination in person.
    “The highlight of the ordination for me was seeing Jacob lying on the floor before the altar, giving himself to God,” said Sharon McDaniel, Father McDaniel’s mother.
    Among those at the ordination was Deacon James Guarascio of the Diocese of Joliet, Ill., one of Father McDaniel’s classmates at Mundelein Seminary.
    “I felt blessed to be here and just be able to pray for Jacob and offer communion for him and all the people he will be able to bring to Christ,” he said.
    Deacon Bill Hathaway of St. Edward parish, Lowell, read the Gospel at the ordination Mass. After Mass, he said, “I see Father Jacob as being very social and pleasant and pastoral, but also as having a very deep knowledge of his faith that will serve him very well.”
    Father McDaniel attended Joy Elementary and Krueger Middle School in the Michigan City area and graduated from Michigan City High School in 2010. He earned an undergraduate degree at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis before entering the Chicago Province of St. Albert the Great Dominican novitiate in Colorado with the intention of becoming a priest/teacher, but left after a year to pursue studies at Mundelein Seminary in suburban Chicago, earning a master’s in philosophy in 2016, and a master’s of divinity in May.
    While in the seminary, he served a summer assignment at Holy Spirit, Winfield, in 2016; a spring internship at St. Matthias in 2017; a language immersion at Baden-Powell Institute in Mexico and a stay at St. Francis Xavier, Lake Station, in 2017; a summer 2018 assignment in clinical pastoral education at Mercy Health St. Mary Hospital, Grand Rapids, Mich.; a fall 2018 weekend assignment at St. Mary, Griffith; and a weekend stint at St. John the Evangelist in St. John this past school year.