The Sharon man said he was given signs that God was calling him.
SHARON, Pa. -- James Reardon said he knows when God first called him to join the priesthood.
He was only 8 or 9, and was in St. Stanislaus Kostka Church when the priest celebrating the Mass came over to where he was sitting, picked him up and led him to the altar before inviting other children to join them.
Reardon, 26, said he was thrilled to have been selected by the priest and later saw that as a sign that God wanted him in the priesthood.
Reardon's sign will become a reality at 7:30 p.m. Friday when he will be ordained by Bishop Donald W. Trautman in St. Peter Cathedral in Erie.
Two others will be ordained at the same time: David Perry, 27, of Washington, Pa., and Richard Toohey, 29, of Erie.
Destiny: Reardon, who grew up in Sharon, studied for the priesthood at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa., and was ordained as a transitional deacon in June 2000. His home parish is St. Joseph. He is the son of Leo and Frances Reardon and has three brothers and three sisters.
He will serve as a parochial vicar in St. Jude Parish in Erie.
Reardon said he was 17 when he went to St. Mark Seminary to attend a high school live-in program to learn about seminary life. As he drove into the parking lot, he said he sensed an uncanny feeling of a burden being lifted from his shoulders, another sign that he was destined for the priesthood.
He said he had that same feeling again when, as a seminary junior, he opted for the priesthood over continuing a relationship with a girl he had been dating.
"This is the best way I can be with God's people and use the gifts he has given me," Reardon said.
He admits to having mixed feelings of joy and fear as his ordination date nears.
"I've got to let go and rely on God. Then, I'll be prepared," he said.