Father Mitchell McLaughlin is a newly ordained priest of the diocese, having received Holy Orders on May 27, 2022. He grew up in Bettendorf, Iowa, with two brothers, one older and one younger. He currently serves as a parochial vicar at the parishes of Sacred Heart and St. Mary in Aberdeen.
How did you get your call to the priesthood?
I received my call through thinking about the Mass. God revealed the call to the priesthood to me through the holiness and the presence of Christ in the Mass. I went to a FOCUS conference with many great and inspiring talks and lectures, yet the one thing that remained in my mind was the beauty of the Mass. I ignored God’s call to the priesthood for a few years. Yet, as I continued in the life of prayer and taking seriously Christianity, I could not ignore God’s call to enter seminary. My call to the priesthood was eventually confirmed by the Church.
What did you do before the priesthood?
I was in college studying medical laboratory science, then education, then English. While in college, I worked part-time as a scientist conducting research on bacteria at the USD Medical School.
Is there a particular part of Catholicism that really fascinates you?
I am fascinated by Catholicism’s insistence on art and beauty. The Catholic Church has fostered images, music, dress, paintings, sculpture and architecture. Catholicism draws out the best of human creation and elevates it by connection with the divine.
Who was most influential in your life?
The friends I have had in seminary and mostly my brother seminarians from the Diocese of Sioux Falls. My brothers in seminary have inspired me in holiness and have been the face of Christ for me.
What’s your favorite part of being a priest?
Celebrating the Mass and being with parishioners.
What’s the most challenging thing?
The priestly schedule and getting used to its adjustments.
Who is your go-to saint? Why?
St. Catherine of Siena. She has inspired me to live a radical holiness and dependance on God as Father. She worked many miracles during her life on earth, and I believe she still works many miracles from heaven.
What do you do in your spare time?
Exercise, read and hang out with fellow priests or parishioners.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I once was a mime.
How can your parishioners and people of the diocese best help you be a great priest?
The first answer is cliché and obvious, but full of truth: pray for me! Pray for my sanctification, my continuing conversion and the fruitfulness of my work. Also, to pray for the purity and sanctification of the Catholic Church.
If you could have supper with anyone from history (besides Jesus), who would it be and why?
John Adams, because he was essential to the founding of America and the continuing of America as a nation as its second president. I am sure I would learn a great deal about the trials of the American Revolution and the keeping of the American experiment alive. I would become an even prouder patriot of America after having supper with John Adams.