Fr. Chad Franklin

‘Internal whisper’ draws 47-year-old to priesthood

By 
  • October 2, 2021

Becoming a priest at age 47 is a day Fr. Chad Franklin won’t soon forget.

Ordained by Bishop Thomas Dowd of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie at Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption in North Bay on Aug. 26, after discerning for six years, he didn’t feel at all scared of his new assignment. Lying prostrate on the church floor, he felt the confirmation of God’s promise with him every step of the way.   

“It was a very humbling experience,” remembers Franklin. “It felt like God was reassuring me that He will be walking beside me and will carry me through the hard moments of my life, as He always has. For me that moment was a symbol of death — the death to myself along with any anxiety that comes from the unknown, before my rebirth into the priestly service.”

A Sudbury native who grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, he attended Catholic school as a child and developed his spiritual foundation going to church every Sunday with his family. He took a hiatus from the Church in his teen years, becoming disillusioned with the faith in light of the bad press being highlighted in the media. As a young adult he started hearing the “internal whisper” that God wanted him back in His flock and began to reconnect with the Church community.

He became active at St. Veronica’s Parish, holding various roles including catechist, usher, sacristan, reader and eucharistic minister.

His spirituality continued to grow through his adult years, even during his marriage, since ended, and becoming the proud father of three children. Throughout that time he contemplated becoming a deacon.

Vocationally, he worked as an information technology expert and was a programmer with Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in North Bay and later an IT analyst with Brookfield in the Sault.

Through the years the inner whisper got louder until he just couldn’t ignore it any longer. The thought of going back to school, reading textbooks, writing essays, selling his home to live in a small seminary room with no pay for next five years weighed heavily on his thoughts. He struggled with a lot of anxiety and many sleepless nights. He eventually took the plung. 

His new position as assistant pastor at Precious Blood Cathedral in the Sault is not as far from his former life as one might think. IT involves helping people when their technology is not working for them, so in a way, the priestly role is similar, he says.

“I was always aware that when I was working with a machine that there is a person there that was frustrated or upset that things were not working as they should,” said Franklin. “I always tried to calm their fears and anxiety, reassuring them I will be able to get their machine working again so they can get that very important document out in time for their meeting.”

The only difference, he says, is with technology that isn’t working properly you know right away when you resolve an issue. While that instant reassurance that you did something right doesn’t always happen in the priestly ministry, he understands that is very much a part of what it means to have faith and trust that God will lead him to those who need his help most.

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