Chris Lemieux (foreground), a 40-year-old from Georgetown, Ont. and Francesco Marrone, a 30-year-old originally from Verona, Italy were ordained by Cardinal Collins at St. Michael's Cathedral May 12. Photo by Michael Swan

Toronto's priestly fraternity grows by two as Marrone and Lemieux are ordained

  • May 15, 2012

TORONTO - Big families, big dreams, big faith and big love all came together  at St. Michael's Cathedral May 12 for two men chosen from the Catholic faithful for a lifetime of service to the sacraments and the body of Christ.

Francesco Marrone, a 30-year-old originally from Verona, Italy, and Chris Lemieux, a 40-year-old from Georgetown, Ont., received holy orders at the hands of Cardinal Thomas Collins, the archbishop of Toronto, before 1,000 people on a sun-drenched spring Saturday morning.

"It's never my priesthood. Priesthood belongs to the Lord," Collins told the faithful. "We are stewards."


Lemieux's path to the priesthood was rapid, considering he was baptized in  2003 and entered St. Augustine's Seminary to study for the priesthood in 2006.

Marrone is a product of the Neocatechumenal Way and the Paris and Rome World Youth Days of 1997 and 2000. Marrone came to Toronto in 2001 to begin studies at the Redemptoris Mater seminary for service in the worldwide Neochatecumenal movement.

Both men tell stories of an unlikely call to the priesthood. Marrone, the oldest of 10 children, came from a troubled family in debt and on the edge of break-up for years. He had to rediscover his faith as a young adult.

He received his ordination just a week before his father was to be ordained to the permanent diaconate.

Lemieux grew up estranged from and even hostile to organized religion. He was working as a bus driver for Mississauga Transit when he had an experience of God's love that brought him to the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. After baptism his mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer, encouraged him to pursue the priesthood. She was dead eight months later and he was soon on retreat, discerning his call.

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