by Dr. Mabel George Howard
Father James Doran, a Latin Rite Priest of 27 years, tells an interesting story leading to his priestly ordination into the Maronite Catholic Rite. At an early age, James’ parents instilled in him the importance of religion, education, and hard work through their own educational and labor pursuits and qualities of discipline, order, integrity, and honesty. During his teenage years, James became very interested in reading extensively about religion and philosophy. He was always intrigued by the “intellectual pursuits” of questioning “If ” and “What is God?” In preparing to begin his college studies at the University of Michigan, a dramatic change came over James while listening to his priest’s sermon on Good Shepherd Sunday. James pondered on the celebrant’s words, “Every man in this church must ask himself whether God wishes him to be a priest.” He questioned if God was calling him to the priesthood. This thought changed James’ destiny forever, and he soon learned that serving God was to be his vocation.
Ultimately, James made the decision to attend the Seminary of Saint Pius in Switzerland to embark upon his theological studies. In 1988, he was ordained a priest in the Latin Rite, and he served many parishes in and out of the country. However, throughout the years, James was always drawn to the Eastern Catholic Syriac traditions. He progressively became deeply involved in the beauty of the church’s patrimony, both liturgical and doctrinal. After a decade long friendship with the Maronite Archbishop of Damacus, Syria, James petitioned Rome to transfer ritual churches and enter the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, NY. He called this religious transformation “a calling within a calling.” After completing his Eastern studies in 2017, James was ordained a priest of the Maronite Rite on the Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul. He expressed the following: “I must say that the more I learn of the Syriac traditions, writings of the Fathers, and heritage of St. Maroun, the more I fall in love with them.”
Currently, Fr. Doran is the pastor of St. Joseph’s Antiochene Syriac Maronite Catholic Church in Waterville, Maine. With his experiences and religious dedication, it is our privilege and honor to welcome Father James Doran into the Maronite Rite.
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