Priestly ordination set for June 6

    Deacon Jacob McDaniel, 28, will be ordained to the Catholic priesthood at a 10:30 a.m. ordination Mass June 6 at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary, a milestone not only for Deacon McDaniel, but for Bishop Robert J. McClory, since it will be the first priestly ordination he will preside over since his own episcopal ordination and installation on Feb. 11.
    Deacon McDaniel said he is most looking forward to several elements of his ordination – lying prostrate in front of the altar while the congregation prays the Litany of Saints, being able to concelebrate Mass with the bishop, and being vested by Father Declan McNicholas, associate pastor at St. Thomas More in Munster, chosen by Deacon McDaniel for that honor.
    While attendance at the ordination Mass will be limited by social distancing restrictions, the service will be witnessed by Deacon McDaniel’s parents, Mark and Sharon McDaniel, and his two younger brothers.
    The Rev. Jacob McDaniel, whose first assignment is serving as associate pastor at St. Michael the Archangel parish in Schererville, is also slated to celebrate his first Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, at Queen of All Saints, in his hometown, Michigan City, again with limited attendance by invitation. 
    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 following his ordination to the priesthood. The Rev. McDaniel will host a first blessing ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday in the QAS parking lot, 606 S. Woodland Ave., where well-wishers can greet the new priest and receive his blessing.
    Those events will provide the newly ordained priest with a fast start on what he expects will be his favorite responsibility. “I really look forward to celebrating Mass, preaching and being able to be part of many people’s families and lives,” he said. “I’m excited to share that experience.”
    Deacon 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, Deacon McDaniel 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.
    While this spring has represented a unique challenge, Deacon McDaniel is thankful he was able to respond in a positive way. “We all have a role at (St. Matthias) parish,” he said. “I’ve helped with livestreaming Masses and connecting the right people to make it happen, filming the short videos titled, ‘Did You Ever Wonder?’ to explain some of the objects in the church, and co-hosting online trivia nights on Tuesdays with our pastoral associate.”