Campus community celebrates ordinations of Fathers Francis, Basil, and Titus


Kathryn Williams

Father Titus, Father Francis, and Father Basil stand together in the Abbey after their ordination

Kathryn Williams, Editor-In-Chief

Friends and family of the Saint Anselm community gathered in the Abbey church to celebrate the ordinations of Fr. Francis McCarty, O.S.B., Fr. Titus Phelan, O.S.B., and Fr. Basil Francoise, O.S.B.  

The ordination took place on Saturday, September 3, the feast of Saint Gregory the Great. In the presence of the Saint Anselm monks, visiting priests, Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., and Bishop Peter Libasci, D.D, Fr. Francis was ordained a priest and Fr. Titus and Fr. Basil were ordained deacons.

Father Francis professed his solemn monastic vows on February 2, 2020. He was instituted as an acolyte on December 21, 2019. Fr. Francis was ordained to the Diaconate on October 2, 2020, the Feast of the Guardian Angels. After completing his theological studies at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts he began preparations for ordination to the priesthood. 

He called his presbyterial ordination a wonderful day and “the culmination of many years of prayer and formation.” Having his family, campus community, and monastic brothers beside him made the ordination that much more special. “I’m very grateful to Father Titus and Father Basil for walking with me along this journey, and for our campus community for all the support that they’ve given us,” said Fr. Francis. 

For quite some time Fr. Titus and Fr. Basil have been on a parallel journey towards the priesthood. In his first homily on Sunday, September 4th, Fr. Titus emphasized the importance of their monastic milestones and the feast days the two monks chose for each. Both monks were received into the novitiate in 2018 and professed simple vows in 2019. The two were instituted as lectors on Saturday, April 25, 2020, the feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist. They were instituted as acolytes, a ministry formally conferred on those that are preparing to be ordained as priests, on February 10, 2021, the feast of Saint Scholastica, Saint Benedict’s sister. Finally, they were ordained to the diaconate on September 3, 2022, the feast of Saint Gregory the Great, a Benedictine monk and founder of six monasteries in Italy. 

Fr. Basil graduated from Saint Anselm College in 2017 with a degree in theology and a minor in philosophy. After two years away from the Hilltop, he professed simple vows on July 11, 2019, which was also his 25th birthday. Exactly three years later, he professed his solemn monastic vows on July 11, 2021, the Feast of Saint Benedict of Nursia and his 28th birthday. 

The brotherhood of the monastery was meaningful to him, as Fr. Basil recalls being in classes with Fr. Francis and celebrating his steps with Fr. Basil. “Seeing it all come full circle with the three of us being ordained together speaks to the community that we have here, especially in regards to the vow of stability,” he explained.

He graduated from Saint Anselm College in 2012 with a degree in Politics and minors in Catholic Studies and Spanish. He professed his simple vows on January 15, 2019, the memorial of Saints Maurus and Placid. He professed solemn vows on January 9, 2022, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. 

Leading up to the ordination, Fr. Titus said he was a bit nervous until the moment of his ordination when all nerves melted away. “That time, when he lays his hands on our heads, was done in complete silence and it just seemed like a moment of almost perfect prayer,” he explained. 

When asked about his calling to the priesthood, Fr. Titus said, “I can’t explain why God has this plan for my life, perhaps someday he will tell me, but I know that he is calling me closer to himself in this sacrament which I received this past weekend.”

There is a minimum of six months before the newly ordained deacons can be ordained as priests. Fr. Basil, who recently completed his last year of seminary and is entering his fourth year of theology, will seek ordination after the conclusion of his studies. Fr. Titus has already completed seminary and hopes to be ordained sometime in the upcoming spring semester after Easter. 

A group of students smiles with Father Francis following his ordination

The day after their ordination, Father Francis celebrated his first Mass with Father Titus and Father Basil sharing the responsibilities of deacon during the Mass. After the 7 pm Mass, there was a reception with cake where students celebrated the ordained and shared their joy for them. Suffice it to say, the students were thrilled with the weekend’s events and filled with excitement for all three of the newly ordained.