Dec. 16, 2019: location of parish corrected in seventh paragraph.
Father Joseph Gaughan received the sacrament of holy orders at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on Nov 26, 1994. He was the only priest to be ordained for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend that year.
He was born in Fort Wayne, where he spent the first six years of his life; then his parents, John and Patricia, moved the family to Peru, Illinois. Father Gaughan comes from a large family, and their strong Catholic faith played an important role in his youth. Two of his aunts are Benedictine nuns, and from fourth through eighth grade Father Gaughan served as an acolyte at the 6:30 a.m. daily Mass at St. Joseph Parish. He attended three years of high school at St. Bede Academy, where his father taught and coached track, before returning to Fort Wayne for his final year of high school.
He earned his teaching license in 1989 from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and worked one semester as a substitute teacher before making the decision to enroll at St. John’s Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts.
“I think God prepares us to hear the call,” he said. “He puts sentiments in our hearts to love Him. Like Jesus says, ‘It’s not you who chose Me, it’s I that chose you.’ God has a path for you. You can be open to it, or you can fight it. Even in the priesthood, it’s lived out in different ways, as marriage is lived out in different ways. But you listen to what God wants you to do, and you try to be a servant. It’s a way of showing of love.”
Father Gaughan recalls initially questioning whether he was worthy to live out his vocation as a priest. As his preparation in the seminary continued, his relationship with God deepened, and he gradually found peace in his calling.
“In the end, it’s a gift from God.”
After his ordination in 1994, Father Gaughan served for five and half years at St. Anthony of Padua in South Bend, followed by six years at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne. He’s now starting his 14th year as pastor of Most Precious Blood Parish in downtown Fort Wayne.
As for what’s to come in the next 25 years, Father Gaughan would like to use the lessons he’s learned so far as a priest to continue serving his parish with a mind and heart open to the gentle nudges from God.
“I hope to continue to serve God, however He wants me to do that. Even today, He could have other plans than what they initially seem.”
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