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Archives Preparing for ordination: ‘To serve and love’

May 18, 2022

By Darcy Fargo

PLATTSBURGH – For Deacon Leagon Carlin, who is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood May 21, receiving the sacrament of holy orders will be both a beginning and an end.

“Getting to ordination has been the goal for all these years,” Deacon Carlin said. “My life has been so focused on studying, getting ready, preparing, praying and learning to be the priest Jesus wants me to be. This thing that has been the end goal is really now the beginning of my life.”

Deacon Carlin, 25, explained that ordination feels like the ending to what his life has looked like thus far.

“I’ve been in an academic schedule effectively my entire life,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll fully process the fact that seminary is over and I’m not going back until August. And I’ve spent eight years of my life – and even before that – discerning the priesthood.”

This ending also marks the beginning of the next chapter in his story following the Lord’s call, he said.

“It’s a difficult mental transition to make – seeing this thing that seems to be an end as a beginning,” Deacon Carlin said. “It’s also beautiful in a way. With endings, we feel like we need to be perfect to get there – everything has to be right and exactly as it should be. Because this isn’t an ending, the only thing I have to do is hope Jesus makes me ready for this next stage. It’s difficult to die to perfectionism for me. I know I’m not as perfect as I wanted to be at this point, and I know I can’t control my future. I have to say, ‘Lord, this is your priesthood that you have called me to participate in. Make me open to the movements of the Holy Spirit, and may I be made ready to do it whether I am now or not.’”

A Plattsburgh native and graduate of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Deacon Carlin served as a deacon in a Virginia parish during his last year of studies.

“Certainly, my life was closer during this year to what it will be as a priest than what it was previously,” he said. “Working in a parish, I was celebrating baptisms, talking to people about spiritual matters – it was a little more like what I’ll be doing. People were kind and encouraging. On a human level, it seemed to fit. I take encouragement in that. There’s beauty to that growing in certainty. I was already sure as best I could be at time of my ordination to diaconate, but the Lord confirmed through those human experiences that it’s where I’m supposed to be. I’ve grown in appreciation of the people of God.”

After he is ordained by Bishop Terry R. LaValley, Deacon Carlin will serve as parochial vicar at The Roman Catholic Community of St. Alexanders and St. Joseph in Morrisonville, St. Augustine’s Church in Peru and St. James Church in Cadyville effective June 29.

“There’s a certain permanence when one realizes his or her vocation,” Deacon Carlin said. “Yes, it’s a beginning, but it’s also a permanent state of life. Priesthood, marriage, final vows in consecrated life – it’s a permanence in state of life. There’s always going to be movement and change, but there’s that permanence, too. I loved my time in other dioceses as I completed my studies and formation, and I made many close friends, but I’ve been studying to be a priest in the Diocese of Ogdensburg because I love this diocese. It’s my home. God’s put it on my heart that it’s time to be home and learn this craft of serving His Church and his people in this diocese.”

While he’s trusting the Lord with what his future holds, Deacon Carlin says he’s focused on deepening his relationships with both God and his people as he moves forward.

“The whole meaning and reason for the existence of the priesthood is the salvation of souls, bringing people to Jesus and Jesus to the people,” he said. “My greatest hope and prayer is that God will use me as an instrument to serve and love people and help them encounter Jesus in their own lives and hearts just as I have had the grace to experience on my journey.”


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