St. Isaac grad returns as a priest
The Rev. William Vagenas delivers the homily to a packed church. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
NAME: Rev. William Vagenas
PARENTS: Karen Larson of Hinsdale
Dr. Bruce Larson of Larson Eye Center in Hinsdale
EDUCATION: St. Isaac Jogues Elementary & Junior High schools
Hinsdale Central High School in 2004
Bachelor’s degree, University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.
Master’s in divinity, University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.
MINISTRY: Ordained a deacon: Aug. 6, 2011
Priests are ordained once a year in each diocese. On June 2, 2012, three men were ordained in St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet:
William Vagenas who has been assigned to St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheaton;
Franklin Duran of Bolivia, who has been assigned to St. Dominic Parish in Bolingbrook; and
Sebastian Gargol of Poland, (who has served as transitional deacon at Ascension of Our Lord Church in Oakbrook Terrace) has been assigned to St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Romeoville.
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:18AM
A graduate of St. Isaac Jogues schools returned to Hinsdale Sunday to celebrate his first Mass as a priest.
The Rev. William Vagenas, who became a deacon last year, was ordained Saturday in St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet. On Sunday, he celebrated his First Mass/Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Isaac Jogues Church in Hinsdale.
“I have strong ties to St. Isaac,” Vagenas said.
He attended St. Isaac Jogues Elementary and Junior High schools before graduating from Hinsdale Central High School.
“Even during my time in the seminary, I was involved in St. Isaac’s as a deacon, coordinating liturgies for the parish,” and other roles, he said.
Vagenas said it is not uncommon for newly ordained priests to return to the church of their childhood, or at least one with which they have a strong connection, for their first Mass, but that does not lessen the emotions he feels.
Last week, with his ordination just two days away, Vagenas said he was experiencing “great peace, joy, excitement and deep prayer. You can’t live this life without prayer, especially in these last weeks.”
After graduating from Hinsdale Central in 2004, Vagenas attended University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. where he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Catholic studies. He continued his education at the Mundelein Seminary, receiving a master’s in divinity from University of Saint Mary of the Lake, and a baccalaureate in sacred theology, which is a pontifical degree.
Vagenas has been interested in the priesthood since he was 6 years old.
“I was very fascinated by the whole thing. All that the priest did and the vestments, of course,” Vagenas said.
Whereas the priest’s flowing and formal garments impressed him when he was a boy, after eight years of formation what fascinates Vagenas now is that he will be able “to celebrate the Mass, and the sacraments of reconciliation and anointing the sick . . . because they’re ways of helping people grow closer to God.
“Anyone who spends time in prayer will grow closer to the Lord and be able to recognize his presence in everyday life,” Vagenas said.
But as a priest, he will officially “represent Christ and the church,” and “be present to the people.”
He also is ready to help the church withstand the challenges it faces, including “the attacks on religious freedom” and “the attacks on marriage.” His role will be “to defend and to preach the truth.”
Later this month, Vagenas will begin his first assignment as a priest, serving as parochial vicar at St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheaton.