Nelson ordained into the priesthood

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ironton native Thomas Nelson was ordained into the Roman Catholic priesthood by Bishop of Steubenville Jeffrey Monforton on May 16.

The ordination took place at Holy Name Cathedral in Steubenville where Father Nelson and classmate Edward Maxfield receive holy orders, one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. In addition to Bishop Monforton, who celebrated the Mass, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, of Joliet, Ill., and Bishop Emeritus Gilbert Sheldon, of Steubenville, were in attendance along with several dozen concelebrating priests.

Father Nelson celebrated his first Mass at St. Joseph Church in Ironton on May 18. Bishop Monforton was also in attendance.

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“I think the most exciting part for me is celebrating the liturgy,” Nelson said. “Being able to turn ordinary bread and wine into the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. Knowing that I am in persona Christi, that I am transcending time and space and making present on the altar the one true sacrifice of the cross. Being able to bring people back to God by forgiving them of their sins. Being able to bring Christ to the world.”

Father Nelson is the son of Robert and Ann, of Ironton, and a 2006 graduate of St. Joseph High School. He spent four years earning an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Franciscan university of Steubenville, during which time he lived at the Holy Name House of Formation.

In 2010 Father Nelson moved to the Pontifical College of Josephinum in Columbus where he earned a Master of Divinity and took and interest in the study of canon law and the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, which has influenced his scholarly writings and the homilies he has delivered as a deacon assigned to the Athens Catholic Community for the past year.

“My fondest memories of seminary are of my third-year trip to Rome,” he said. “I enjoyed being in the Eternal City and taking in all the sights as well as being able to serve Mass for Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica. I also enjoyed my trip this past year to see the apostolic nuncio to the United States in Washington, D.C. My class consisted of 11 men from eight dioceses, so I had the chance to see the church in action all over the country.”

Father Nelson said he prefers to be out in the world as a representative of the Catholic Church and enjoys being out of school. He served as the parochial vicar at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption in Marietta.