Fr. Titus ordained priest, celebrates his First Mass


Father Titus celebrates first mass as priest in the Saint Anselm Abbey Church. (Courtesy / Harkins Photography)

Tom Canuel, Crier Staff

When Michael Phelan graduated from Saint Anselm College in 2012, he had thought about joining the monastic community at Saint Anselm Abbey. After attending grad school and working for two years at Catholic University of America, Phelan joined the monastery as a novice, taking on his new name Titus in 2017. On Saturday, April 15, Fr. Titus Phelan, O.S.B. became just the third monk in one year to be ordained a priest at Saint Anselm Abbey, and now he is ready to begin a new journey in his vocation.

Fr. Titus’ preparation for the priesthood began during his postulancy, novitiate, and simple vows. Abbot Mark Cooper has seen Fr. Titus’ growth since his entrance into the monastery. He noted, “Fr. Titus was learning the customs of the house, knowledge of the Rule, what the practices of our monastery were, and discerning his vocation to be a monk for life. He’s been preparing with seminary work in the area of theological studies, and he did a special private retreat. All of this helped set the stage for his future work as a priest.” 

Fr. Titus agreed. “I wonder if I was always discerning priesthood and the monastic life together. It takes a good amount of time and formation in order to prepare for an ordination to the priesthood and I think I cooperated with God’s invitation and grace but at my own pace.”

Fr. Titus is mostly excited for hearing confessions and be a channel of God’s mercy in the sacrament. “I really want to help make present God’s mercy in the world. Confession a really beautiful sacrament and moment in the life of each Catholic, and is something I look forward to celebrating as a priest.” 

Fr. Titus also discussed the importance of the day for him. “For one, it’s an external confirmation of my vocation. In some ways, it’s the end of a long journey to get here, but in a much more significant way, it’s the start of a larger journey.”

Abbot Mark stated, “Fr. Titus has been looking forward to this day. It’s a major step for him to serve the Lord and pursue the Lord in a way that’s meaningful and important to him personally.” 

Fr. Titus’ ordination comes at a time of growing vocations for Saint Anselm Abbey. Much of the recent growth has come under the direction of Abbot Mark, who stated, “It’s very exciting to see the growth in the community and to see in these men the talent, the dedication to the prayer life, and love of our community life. These new vocations help lift up and strengthen our community.” 

Coming over the next few months, the monastic community will have many celebrations. Fr. Basil Franciose is set to be ordained a priest in June, and events for Br. Ambrose, Fr. Anthony, Br. George, and Br. Celestine are scheduled for the summer and fall. “It will be a busy and exciting next few months for our monastic community.”

Fr. Titus would like to thank the monastic and college communities for their support of his vocation. Abbot Mark emphasized the role of the college community in the vocations to the community. “Since we arrived here 134 some years ago, we’ve always had a strong involvement with the College. The College is an exciting work for us and gives much direction to our lives. The step of these young men in taking solemn vows and being ordained will provide a strong Benedictine presence in the College for a long time to come.”

Newly ordained Father Titus smiles surrounded by supportive students and staff who attended his ordination. (Courtesy / Harkins Photography)


Father Titus sat with Bishop Peter Libasci who visited the Abbey for his ordination. (Courtesy / Harkins Photography)