James Bates to be Ordained Transitional Deacon

BRIDGEPORT—On Saturday, June 17, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will ordain James K. Bates as a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Bridgeport. The Ordination Mass will be celebrated at 11 am in St. Augustine Cathedral. Traditionally, ordination as a transitional deacon is the last step before ordination to the priesthood.

Deacon Bates will complete his theological studies at Pope St. John XXVIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., during the coming year.

“Certainly, Jim’s path to ordination has been unconventional. And I think that’s the reason why he is so sincerely grateful,” says Father John Connaughton, director of vocations for the Diocese of Bridgeport.

“The Lord has done such great things for him in his life and he knows it. That sense of God’s James Bates to be ordained transitional deacon goodness and his own unworthiness is one of the reasons he’s going to serve the Lord so well as a deacon and eventually a priest. His witness always inspires me to be more grateful for my own priestly vocation.” James Kenneth Bates, 55, was born in California but grew up in Brookfield, attending Huckleberry Hill Elementary School and Brookfield High School, and graduated from Western Connecticut State University (WestCONN) in 1974. The son of Westbrook and the late Daryll Bates, he grew up with two sisters. His sister Jill Citron is deceased; Jennifer Marazzo lives with her family in New Jersey.

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

He worked as an engineer for Executone Information Systems, Inc., in Milford and Pitney Bows, Inc., in Danbury before discerning a call to the priesthood.
“As a convert and an older vocation approaching ordination, I find myself ever more keenly aware of the working of Divine Providence in my life. It is profoundly humbling to contemplate that, even in my waywardness, God has led me here; even in my unworthiness he has called me by name and set me on the path to be a servant of his people. It is with a sense of awe and inexpressible joy that I give thanks to God for so great a gift.”

Deacon Bates will assist at his first Mass in his home parish, St. Joseph in Danbury, on Sunday, June 18 at 12 noon. Father Samuel Scott, St. Joseph’s pastor, will be the celebrant. Deacon Bates will give the homily.

(The beautiful ordination ceremonies are open to all. Deacon Bates’ ordination will be held in St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday, June 17, at 11 am.)

Pictures by Amy Mortensen