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Fr. Roberts' Ordination
His Eminence Cardinal Wilton Gregory ordains Rev. Nathaniel Roberts (’13) to the priesthood at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (Catholic Standard photo/Mihoko Owada)

“I was drawn to the priesthood somewhat in my early years thanks to the witness (of) some of the priests I knew growing up,” Rev. Nathaniel Roberts (’13) — Thomas Aquinas College’s newest alumnus priest — tells his archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard. “Later in college the beauty of the ministry that they provided to us on the campus made me consider priesthood seriously for the first time.”

Last Saturday, His Eminence Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., ordained 16 new priests, including Fr. Roberts, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. By God’s grace, it was the Archdiocese’s largest number of ordinandi in nearly 65 years. For Fr. Roberts, the Mass of Priesthood Ordination marked the culmination of a lifelong calling, amplified by the friendships and experiences of his four years on the College’s California campus.

Although he had previously considered becoming a priest, it was the ordination of two fellow TAC alumni that led him to explore that vocation more fully. “It was the witness of friends from college entering the priesthood and getting to know them better throughout their discernment that drew me to the priesthood,” the Catholic Standard reports him as writing. “I began to seriously consider the seminary and the priesthood.”

After his graduation from the College in 2013, Fr. Roberts worked in commercial construction, supervising projects that ranged from office renovations to building hotels and playgrounds. Eventually, however, Providence would lead him to study for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Washington, first at the St. John Paul II Seminary, and then at Theological College, the diocesan seminary of The Catholic University of America.

At Fr. Roberts’ Ordination Mass, Cardinal Gregory encouraged the new priests to “surrender your lives in imitation of the One who poured out His life for us,” adding that their “most important encounter with God’s people will be through the Eucharist.” His Eminence urged these young men not to think of their ordination as the end of their discernment. “It takes an entire lifetime to complete a priestly vocation,” he said. “May the Lord who has begun such good work in you bring it to fulfillment.”


16 New Priests
Cardinal Wilton Gregory stands with the 16 newly ordained priests after the June 15, 2024, Ordination Mass (Catholic Standard photo/Mihoko Owada)