Ordination 2022: Meet Stephen Jones
I grew up in Kokomo, Indiana along with most of my family members. I attended St. Joan of Arc and St. Patrick school and was also a parishioner of St. Joan of Arc. Both sides of the family were small and close knit, and it was not until after high school that family member started to move out of Kokomo. But even that seemed to be providential. But more on that later. Growing up, I played Baseball, participated in many programs during my years in Boy Scouts, served at Mass with my best friends, played the trumpet for marching and concert band, and got involved with attending and then leading our local youth group. After High School, I attended Franciscan University of Steubenville where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Theology. It was at Franciscan that I first met friends from Cincinnati and began to discern joining a Diocese I did not grow up in. As that call grew stronger the family also began to move to Cincinnati and the surrounding area. I knew that I was being called to join the Archdiocese and that God in his goodness had even moved some of my old home closer to me.
When did you first begin to discern your calling to the priesthood?
Growing up, I had always thought the priest had one of the best “jobs” I could imagine, but I never thought that I could be called to the priesthood. In my head, the priesthood was something only the holiest of holy people were called to, and I was a regular kid that liked scouts, band, and playing video games with friends. It was during my junior year in high school that God shattered that misconception during a Eucharistic procession at a retreat and I began to seriously discern if God might be calling me to the priesthood.
I have had many priests that helped me to realize a vocation to the priesthood was one of joy, love for the people, and love for God. I also had priests during my years of formation that helped me to understand what it is to be a pastor and priest in the parish. Pastors like Fr. Martin Fox, Fr. Barry Stechschulte, Fr. Alexander Witt, and Fr. Thomas McCarthy all generously gave of their time to help form me as a seminarian, deacon, and future priest. But, priests were not the only examples I had in my life while discerning the priesthood. I had the examples of many holy people such as the catechists who handed on the faith to me growing up, parish office staff, teachers, maintenance staff, and parishioners who all have all gifted me with their time and insights with their particular expertise. I have met so many people from all over the states and I do not have time to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey in life for these past 30 years, but I hope they realize how much they have done in helping me be who I am today.
I look forward to finally getting to serve the parishes of the Archdiocese as a priest! I have been helping at parishes in many capacities during my time in seminary and the work of serving them in whatever way I can has been a source of great joy in my life and a confirmation of my call. But, no matter what gifts and talents I have been able to give, it will not compare to what I will be able to give as a priest. I will finally be able to offer the people God the grace of the sacraments which I have loved and depended on my whole life. How can one not be excited and immensely humbled in preparing to be an instrument of God in bringing such healing and life-giving nourishment that comes to us from the sacraments?
I have always had a devotion to Mary through the Rosary and the beautiful Consecration to Jesus Through Mary that St. Louie De Montfort has provided the church. Mary has helped me grow closer to her Son over these many years as she has gently and lovingly guided my heart to grow in deeper understanding and devotion. Later in Life I added the Divine Mercy Chaplet as I experienced the power of its simple words in the midst of loss and pain and as a path to restrengthen my trust in the Lord and His mercy. I also continually turn towards St. Joseph of Cupertino, Padre Pio, and St. John Vianney, and St. Philip Neri in their examples of priestly devotion to Jesus and his Church.
When I have free time, I enjoy listening to audio media. I can always put a good book on when I’m driving from one scheduled event to another or while out on a walk. Si-Fi or other fiction, ipodcasts on historical events, talks from the Lighthouse Catholic Media, or various Catholic books and spiritual works are all in the cue to listen to whenever I get the chance. I also like dabbling with technology. I took apart a camera to figure out how it worked when I was in middle school, and ever since then, I have loved exploring the mysteries of how electronics work. I have been constantly building, tearing apart, upgrading, and repurposing electronics and these skills have been surprisingly useful while in seminary and in the parish.
As an “adopted” seminarian studding for a Diocese that I did not grow up in, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for all these years living in the Archdiocese and welcoming me with such kindness into your parishes and your lives. You have made this a new home for me. You have made the decision to be ordained to a lifetime of serving the Archdiocese of Cincinnati both an easy and a joyful one. I cannot wait to serve you as one of your priests, and I look forward to all the gifts God will give to me through you.