Seminarian eager for next step on his path to the priesthood - Catholic Courier
Men stand in a group.

Seminarian George Bastedo IV is seen following an Aug. 3, 2023, Mass at St. Dominic Church in Shortsville during which the faithful prayed for diocesan seminarians. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Seminarian eager for next step on his path to the priesthood

Ever since he entered the seminary in 2019, George Bastedo IV has been looking forward to the day when he will be able to celebrate Mass as a priest of the Diocese of Rochester.

Later this month, he will take one major step closer to achieving that goal. Bastedo will be ordained a transitional deacon May 25 during a 10 a.m. liturgy at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 296 Flower City Park, Rochester.

After his diaconal ordination, he will serve at a diocesan parish over the summer before returning to St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass., for his final year of study. He is on track to be ordained a diocesan priest in 2025.

“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Bastedo said.

The call to the priesthood came as a surprise for seminarian from Rochester Diocese

The idea that he might be called to the priesthood initially came as something of a surprise to Bastedo, who grew up in Clyde. He had been baptized in the Presbyterian Church, and a few years after his baptism, his family began worshipping at the local Methodist Church. But when Bastedo was in third grade, his family began attending Mass at Clyde’s St. John the Evangelist Church, which is now part of St. Joseph the Worker Parish.

“When I was in fifth grade, my brother and I were received into the church by profession of faith,” Bastedo said.

After graduating from high school, Bastedo studied music and mathematics at the University of Rochester and earned a master’s degree in music education from the Eastman School of Music.

Bastedo traces the first stirrings of his vocation to an unexpected conversation after cantoring for a funeral during his second year of graduate school, he said.

“At the end of Mass, I was asked, ‘Have you ever considered becoming a priest?’ I said, ‘I don’t think I’m called.’ Then people kept asking me — people I knew, people I didn’t know. I kept getting the questions. When that happens, you have to keep thinking about it,” Bastedo recalled.

Seminarian’s year as a teacher reassured him of his call to the priesthood

Bastedo began seriously thinking about priesthood around that time, and although he didn’t tell many people about these thoughts, he did have several interviews with the Diocese of Rochester’s vocations team to learn more about the path to the priesthood.

Toward the end of that school year, he confided in his dad that he wasn’t sure whether he should enter the seminary or continue pursuing a career in music education. He thought he’d found his answer when the Lyons Central School District offered him a job as a high-school music teacher.

“I got a job, so I decided to try the job,” Bastedo said.

After teaching for a year, however, Bastedo felt more drawn to the priesthood than ever before.

“Being out in the community, I was struck by the secularization of the world to a certain extent. Often some of the kids I was teaching were coming from pretty rough home lives. It really struck me that I wasn’t well-positioned to do much to help that,” Bastedo said.

By contrast, the priesthood seemed to provide more opportunities to help people, he added.

Love for the liturgy and the sacraments propel seminarian on the path to priesthood

Bastedo entered the seminary in 2019 and said he has never looked back. He’s eager to serve at a diocesan parish this summer and looks forward to being able to celebrate Mass and confer sacraments after his eventual priestly ordination.

“The liturgy has always spoken to me. That’s something I’m really looking forward to,” he said.

And when he does become a priest, his training in music likely will come in handy, he said.

“He who sings well prays twice,” Bastedo said, referring to a saying frequently attributed to St. Augustine. “I think it adds a lot to the Mass when the different parts can be sung by the priest.”

Tags: Holy Orders
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