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Different paths to priesthood

‘The beauty of our faith’ displayed as Frs. Gabriel Mills, Connor Plessala, Peyton Plessala ordained

By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MOBILE – One spent almost 20 years in the workforce. One jumped straight into discerning the priesthood. One thought he’d become a doctor.
Fr. Gabriel Mills, Fr. Connor Plessala and Fr. Peyton Plessala took different paths, but still heard God’s call. The Archdiocese of Mobile celebrated their ordinations to the priesthood and Deacon Alexander Crow’s ordination to the transitional diaconate May 30 at the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
“I think it speaks to the beauty of the priesthood, but also to the beauty of our faith,” Fr. Connor Plessala said. “Everybody is different and the Lord calls us in different ways and He’s willing to work with us, no matter where we are. Three very different entry points into seminary, three different upbringings, three different lives … it’s a beautiful thing.”
The three priesthood ordinations were the most in the Archdiocese of Mobile since 2012.
The archdiocese’s newest priests took different journeys, even though two came from the same household. Both Fr. Peyton Plessala and Fr. Connor Plessala are St. Ignatius and McGill-Toolen Catholic School graduates. Fr. Peyton Plessala, 27, then spent three years studying at LSU thinking he’d become an OB-GYN like his father, Dr. Kirby Plessala.
Fr. Connor Plessala, 25, went directly into seminary after graduating from McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in 2012. There’s no record of any brothers being ordained in the same class in the Archdiocese of Mobile.
Fr. Gabriel Mills was ordained May 30 at the age of 44. He spent nearly 20 years in the workforce, mostly at UPS, and was also away from the Church before hearing the Lord.
“I can count on one hand how many times I had been to Mass beyond a funeral or wedding,” Fr. Mills said. “When I was about 33, the Lord started speaking to me at a friend’s daughter’s baptism (saying) I was in the wrong place in my life and it was time to change. I started going to Mass, gradually I got more and more involved and felt that tug in my heart.”
The three new priests will begin their first parochial vicar assignments June 27. Fr. Peyton Plessala has been assigned to Little Flower Parish in Mobile, Fr. Connor Plessala has been assigned to St. Bede the Venerable Parish in Montgomery and Fr. Gabriel Mills has been assigned to Christ the King Parish in Daphne.
Deacon Crow has been assigned to St. Patrick Parish in Robertsdale and will return to St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology with hopes of being ordained a priest next year.
“God has kind of made me for this, in a sense,” Fr. Peyton Plessala said. “It’s what I’m meant to do. I’ve come to a profound understanding of that. I know it will be challenging, I know it will be fun, incredible and difficult at the same time. I’m looking forward to finally getting started.”

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