FALL RIVER — Transitional Deacon Christopher Peschel will be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fall River by Bishop George W. Coleman in an 11 a.m. Mass on Saturday, June 7, in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River.
On Sunday, June 8, he will celebrate his first Mass at 1 p.m. at his home parish of Annunciation of the Lord in Taunton.
Deacon Peschel, who is 26, has been preparing for the priesthood since 2007 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, Pa., just outside Philadelphia, and at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton and through various parish assignments during breaks from seminary studies.
“As my ordination approaches, I feel a sense of excitement,” he said recently. “I’m really looking forward to what lies beyond the ordination and my work in the diocese as a parish priest.”
Deacon Peschel is the son of Bruce Peschel and Linda (Ferreira) Forte and has three younger brothers.
Raised in Taunton, he attended St. Mary’s School and Taunton Catholic Middle in that city and is a 2006 graduate of Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood.
After high school, he completed a year of college at the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary where he studied from 2007 to 2010 and earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. From there he continued on to St. John’s Seminary, studying Theology and receiving a master’s degree in Divinity in May of this year.
As a seminarian, he augmented classroom learning with parish assignments at St. Pius X in South Yarmouth, St. Patrick’s, Wareham, and at St. John the Evangelist and St. Vincent de Paul Parishes, Attleboro. In addition, during different summer breaks he studied Spanish in Puebla, Mexico and Portuguese at UMass Dartmouth and attended the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Nebraska.
In January he was ordained a transitional deacon by Bishop Coleman, the first step within Holy Orders, and has since served weekends as a deacon at the two Attleboro parishes where he assisted as a seminarian and where Masses are celebrated in English, Portuguese and Spanish.
Within the Rite of Ordination, Deacon Peschel will receive his stole and chasuble- the vestments worn by a priest- from Father Peter Stravinskas, who became a friend and mentor to him during his time at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
For his first Mass, he has asked Bishop Herbert Bevard of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands to offer the homily. As a pastor in Philadelphia before his appointment to St. Thomas, the bishop served as spiritual director to Deacon Peschel during his first years in the seminary and was, says the ordinand, instrumental in his discernment and early priestly formation.
As he reflected on his decision to become a priest, Deacon Peschel remembered the “exemplary priests” he came to know particularly during his high school years “who became role models and mentors” to him. He recalls first thinking about “how great it would be to be a priest” shortly after receiving his first Holy Communion and becoming an altar server.
On the eve of his ordination, Friday, June 6, Deacon Peschel will lead a 6:30 p.m. holy hour at St. Mary Church in Taunton to pray for more vocations to the Church. He extends an invitation to all to join him.