James Bates to be ordained Saturday

DANBURY—On June 2, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will ordain Deacon James K. Bates as a priest for the Diocese of Bridgeport. The Ordination Mass will be celebrated at 11 am in St. Joseph Church, Danbury, his home parish.

Father Samuel Scott, St. Joseph’s pastor, notes that three recent vocations to the priesthood have from St. Joseph Parish: Father Harry Prieto, who was ordained last year; the soon to be ordained Father Bates, and seminarian David Roman. “I am grateful to the parishioners of St. Joseph’s for the prayers and support they have offered so generously to the three men in our midst who have answered the call to priestly ministry,” Father Scott said. “The parishioners have created a culture which encouraged these men to open their hearts to the Lord and respond generously to the call to be of service in his Kingdom.”

James Kenneth Bates, 56, the son of Westbrook and the late Daryll Bates, was born in California but grew up in Brookfield with his two younger sisters, Jennifer and Jill, attending Huckleberry Hill Elementary School and Brookfield High School and graduating from Western Connecticut State University (WestCONN).

His sister Jill Citron is deceased; his sister Jennifer Marazzo lives with her family in New Jersey. Jennifer and his niece Ashley Citron will be gift bearers at his ordination.

A convert to Catholicism, he holds an MS and MBA from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven and was studying for an MA in theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell before entering into priestly formation at Pope Saint John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass.

He worked as a Systems Engineer for Executone Information Systems, Inc., in Milford and Pitney Bows, Inc., in Danbury before discerning a call to the priesthood.

“Father Bates knows what it means to be a servant leader as a priest of God,” said Father Scott. “He is a shepherd of souls who has the capacity to listen and truly hear the needs of the people entrusted to his care. He is a joyful laborer in the vineyard of the Lord with a priestly heart and generous spirit for the mission of the Church in Fairfield County. Father Bates’ priestly ministry will be a distinct asset to the Diocese of Bridgeport.”

As a transitional deacon, Father Bates served a summer assignment at St. Mary Parish in Ridgefield.

“Deacon Jim Bates left a lasting impression on our parish family through his kindness, good humor and excellent preaching,” said Msgr. Laurence Bronkiewicz, St. Mary’s pastor. “I am sure that whatever parish to which Jim will be assigned as a newly ordained priest will appreciate his deep faith and strong commitment to the Lord and his Church.”

During this past year, he also served as a deacon in the Archdiocese of Boston at the parishes of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare in Braintree, MA.

“There’s a natural longing in the human heart that seeks to know God’s will in our life,” he says in reflection. “Looking back, I can see now that what began as an inarticulate longing became a search for truth, and it was in that search that I came to hear the call of God. In hindsight, I can see the hand of the Holy Spirit at work in so many varied ways and through so many different people in my life. The journey that has led me towards the priesthood is not one I made on my own; it is the work of God.”

Father Bates will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday, June 3, at 12 noon in St. Joseph Church. Father Samuel Scott, St. Joseph’s pastor, and Father David Franklin, parochial vicar, will be among the concelebrants. Father Bates will deliver the homily.