My Name is David Twaddle, and I am from Unionville Ontario and I was born and raised Catholic. During my childhood, I assisted as an altar server at Mass at St Justin Martyr Parish. In my later years in High School and College, I slowly started drifting away from church on Sunday. I studied Aircraft Maintenance Technician at Canadore College in North Bay. I worked as an Aircraft Mechanic Apprentice for a year and a half. I was laid off from my apprentice job after the industry when through some troubled times and soon found a job at a sign company in Toronto where I worked as a sign installed for the next six and a half years. Reflecting back on my work experience, as I was installing signs that would help direct people to places, God was giving me many signs directing me back to Him. Just before starting that new job at the sign company, I started returning back to church on Sundays and slowly started to rediscover my faith, and getting more and more involved with parish activities. My involvement with the Knights of Columbus helped me to rediscover my faith and become active with others in my community. At that time, priesthood was at the very back of my mind, but it was not until I made a walking pilgrimage from Toronto to the Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, it was during this pilgrimage that I began to fall in love with the Mass. It was the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist that moved me to give my life to him. After journeying to World Youth Day in Sydney Australia in 2008 I felt that God was calling me to the priesthood. I entered seminary formation in 2008. My years in the seminary and my one year internship placement in St Clement Parish in Etobicoke, has brought me great joy for the Church and the people of God, and as I enter into my final year at St Augustine Seminary, I look forward to serving the people of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
In the Acts of the Apostles after Easter, we hear the story of the Apostles receiving thousands into the Church; baptizing whole families! I’m always amazed at the power of Christ; the power of the Holy Spirit but I know that the same Holy Spirit works in a powerful way to this very day! I know because I was a recipient of that outpouring of grace.
On April 19, 2003 at the age of 31, I was received [baptized & confirmed] into the Roman Catholic Church. I was one of the many people who came from no religious background (perhaps loosely Christian) but really a “pagan” receiving the gift of faith. And it didn’t stop there. My calling was first and most importantly to become a Christian man, following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ; becoming His disciple. That was hard enough!
I was a bus driver at Mississauga Transit with almost ten years on the job at that point; making good money, I couldn’t have had more job security. I was even convinced that I was called to be married; a husband and father. There were lots of fine Catholic ladies that I wanted to date! Beginning to live as a disciple – my mind couldn’t have been further from priesthood.
But the Lord had other plans. The invitation came from others; first, my RCIA instructors, and then the priests in my parish. I wasn’t open to this idea at first, but when one is committed to prayer and to God’s presence and His signals – it’s hard to close the door too quickly. Later in 2003, I went to a Franciscan Discernment weekend in New York; a Come & See weekend at St. Augustine’s Seminary and remained committed to my involvement in my parish. By September 2005, after many challenges (my mother died in August of 2004) I made the first step of going to Serra House and beginning my formation which lead me through a rewarding yet challenging seven years of formation.
I was ordained a priest on May 12, 2012 at St. Michael’s Cathedral and spent my first year and a half of priesthood as the Associate Pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Markham. I absolutely love being a priest! It’s rewarding, God’s people are well worth it, and I joyfully give my life to ministering to them. I made many life-long friends in the seminary, and find that my life is more amazing than I could have ever imagined. I have learned a great deal, I am doing things now I NEVER would have imagined myself doing – all by the Grace of God!!
I know the Lord of the Harvest called me; and He might be calling you!! If He is – be not afraid!
Fr. Chris Lemieux is the new Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Toronto. This is the article that appeared in the Catholic Register in Toronto a few weeks before his 2012 ordination to the priesthood:
A call to faith became a call to the priesthood for Lemieux By Luc Rinaldi, The Catholic Register
- April 22, 2012
TORONTO – Ten years ago, no one in Chris Lemieux’s world — not his parents, not his closest friends, not the guys on his softball team — would have imagined him as a priest. That’s because 10 years ago, he wasn’t even a Catholic.
Lemieux, now 40, was working as a bus driver for Mississauga Transit at the time, and planning to do so, eventually as a married man with a family, for a long time.
“But it seems now that God had another plan,” said Lemieux. “A plan that led me to baptism — to become Catholic first — and then to priesthood.”
After growing up in a family that didn’t go to church, struggling with school and leaving home at 18 because of tension with his parents, Lemieux earned his diploma in police studies. He worked for an armored car company, played sports regularly and, for a while, was harshly critical of religion. Nothing in Lemieux’s life seemed to predict his conversion experience.
“Love is what I attribute to my conversion. I experienced God’s great love for me and I saw love all around me in the world.”
Whatever he experienced, he decided not to share it with anyone near to him — that is, not until two months before his baptism. To Lemieux’s surprise, nearly everyone in his life was accepting and supportive of his decision when he finally told them. Some even said it was inspiring.
As Lemieux’s baptism crept closer, thoughts of the Catholic priesthood suddenly came up. His RCIA leaders began to mention the idea to him, and, two weeks before his baptism, Lemieux had a conversation with his pastor about the possibility.
“I can assure that never for a moment in my life up to that point had I thought about priesthood,” said Lemieux. “I wondered how I could possibly think of becoming a spiritual leader when I myself was so new to the faith.”
Those doubts and fears gradually subsided as Lemieux was baptized and his parish nominated him for the Called by Name discernment program. Even his mother encouraged him to follow the call, as she’d seen a dramatic change in his life. Diagnosed with cancer nine months after Lemieux’s baptism, she told her son not to wait on “what ifs.” She died eight months later.
Lemieux took his late mother’s advice. He went on a retreat where he met a priest who would become his mentor. That priest was one of the many religious Lemieux met, he said, who led by example and helped him experience the faith, love and joy that inspired his vocation. He also attended an Ordinandi Dinner, hosted by Serra International, an event that he would once again participate in 10 years later as a candidate rather than a spectator.