Have You Ever Thought of Being a Priest
Meet Father Kyle Stanton
By Simcha Fisher
In this series, Parable travels the Diocese of Manchester to profile a priest from each region. Father Kyle Stanton serves in the White Mountain deanery, the northernmost part of the state. In the next issue, we head to the Lakes Region to meet with a priest there.
Father Kyle F. Stanton was 19 when he told his parents he was going to be a priest; something he says he had known since he was eight. Now 36 and the pastor of Good Shepherd and Holy Family parishes in Berlin and Gorham, Father Kyle remembers returning to his pew after receiving his First Communion and hearing a very clear call from the Lord: “I am truly with you, and you are to give me to others.”
Father Kyle says, “It didn’t scare me. It didn’t shock me. It hit me as making sense. That was who I was.”
His parents were not so sure. They had raised him and his two brothers in the faith. But, in 2002, the idea of the priesthood for their middle son scared them. Father Kyle recalls:
“They were concerned about my happiness and my safety, especially as they pondered the revelations coming out about the failures of the clergy and bishops to keep children safe. They were concerned about me taking on that cross or that shame.”
What’s the hardest thing you face as a priest?
People often ask us [priests] for things they can get anywhere. They don’t often ask us for things we alone can give. I’m here to give you the truth that sets you free, and the sacraments that confer the very presence of God.
I don’t mind telling a joke, putting on a barbecue or playing volleyball with high school kids, but those things, people can get from anyone. We are not always asked for things that we alone can give.
What’s the most rewarding?
My favorite part is when someone does respond to the Gospel or sacraments, and you see something new in them. They forgive someone, or they realize they are in love with God, or you see them overcome a habitual sin and they’re freed from it through confession.
It’s like parents looking at a newborn child: I’m part of something new, here, part of a new life. It shocks me every time and makes me say I’m very blessed to be a priest, every time.
What would you say to parents whose sons are pondering a call to the priesthood?
Your worry is a sign of your love. Encourage them to be brave and generous to God; but remind them you’ll always be their parents. Let them know you’re there. Don’t pressure them into a vocation. Let them know you’re proud of them for even considering it. Keep that freedom there.