Future priest’s vocation nurtured by example of his parents and pastor
June 13, 2018
The Catholic belief that parents should be the first and most important teachers of the faith to their children unfolded for Deacon Kevin Alexander Fields, who credits the witness of his mother and father, and that of his pastor, with helping him ultimately follow God’s call to priesthood.
Deacon Fields said his parents, “showed me that to live the teachings of Jesus involved a loving commitment. Their example was encouraging for me to make my own loving commitment to the Church.”
Cardinal Donald Wuerl will ordain Deacon Fields as one of three new priests for the Archdiocese of Washington during a Mass at 10 a.m. June 16 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
While growing up at St. Peter Parish in Olney, the future priest said his parents, Mark and Mary Fields, “provided a great example of living out the Catholic faith.”
The Fields raised three children – Mark Jr., Kevin and Christine – who grew up at St. Peter Parish and attended Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, which over the years moved from Wheaton to its present campus at Olney.
Deacon Fields noted that his mother – who after raising her children later helped direct a preschool and was the administrator of an educational organization – served as a catechist at St. Peter’s and coordinated the Children’s Liturgy of the Word program.
His father, who is a certified public accountant and has worked in accounting and finance jobs, served on the Finance Council at St. Peter’s, and like his wife, served as a Eucharistic minister at Masses there.
Following his parents’ example, Kevin began helping at his parish, first as an altar server and later as a volunteer with the children’s liturgy program.
“No matter how old I was, or what grade I was in, there was always a way for me to receive God’s love and share God’s love” at the parish, he said.
That commitment to serving others continued at Our Lady of Good Counsel, where he graduated in 2004. He was active in the Key Club, a service organization, and visited local nursing homes and helped at a Christmas luncheon for homeless children.
In his senior year at Good Counsel, he volunteered with the school’s campus ministry office, and was a retreat leader and also was a lector and Eucharistic minister at school Masses.
His years there, he said, “really cemented my love for service, my love for serving others.”
Deacon Fields, who noted he will become the 10th graduate of the school to be ordained as a priest for the archdiocese, said, “Our Lady of Good Counsel really provided a lot of opportunities for living out a servant’s heart.”
Then he earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and urban studies at Canisius College, a Jesuit school in Buffalo, New York. In high school, he had competed on the math team, and after earning his degree, he worked as a banker, specializing in loans and escrow.
That experience, he said, helped him sharpen his administrative skills and showed him the importance of flexibility and teamwork. While working with Sandy Spring Bank, he also earned a master of public administration degree at the University of Baltimore.
Searching for the right path for his life, he attended the archdiocese’s annual men’s discernment retreat and resolved that “no matter what my calling was, I needed to do more to open myself to the Holy Spirit.”
Noting the example of his longtime pastor at St. Peter’s, Father Thomas Kalita, Deacon Fields said that for regular and infrequent Mass goers, and for visitors there, “Everyone is family to him, and he seeks to bring Christ’s love to them.”
He said his pastor, “through his example as well as through his words, wants to help others realize God’s love and God’s call for them, while at the same time not getting in God’s way.”
In 2012, Kevin Fields entered the Archdiocese of Washington’s Blessed John Paul II Seminary, which changed its name when its patron saint was canonized two years later. His studies there, he said, helped his spiritual growth and formation. Then from 2014-18, he studied at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg.
“I could see what I was learning was going to help me as a priest of Jesus Christ,” he said, adding that the Mount “was a beautiful place to pray, a beautiful place to study and a beautiful place to grow.”
As a seminarian, he served at St. Patrick Parish in Rockville, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Lexington Park and St. Elizabeth Parish in Rockville, where he helped with young adult and youth activities and other parish duties.
A special highlight in his years as a seminarian came in 2015, when he was a server and candle bearer at Pope Francis’s Canonization Mass for St. Junípero Serra outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He said it was moving to see how that papal Mass, in its simplicity and beauty, reminded him of the Masses celebrated by the priests in his parish when he was growing up.
Deacon Fields, a 31-year-old Baltimore native, is a fourth degree Knight of Columbus and admires the Knights’ “zeal for God, their zeal for service and their zeal for patriotism.” He enjoys visiting historic sites and reading autobiographies, and for four years, he was part of an undefeated trivia championship team at Mount St. Mary’s, where one of the winning questions he answered was, name the last seven losing vice presidential candidates.
The future priest, an enthusiastic hockey fan, will be ordained nine days after his hometown Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup championship.
As his ordination day approached, Deacon Fields said he felt thankful to God for all the graces and blessings he has received in his life, and he is looking forward to loving and serving the people of the Church as a priest.
Father Kalita will vest him at the ordination Mass, and he said having his mentor “welcome me as a brother priest is truly special.”
Deacon Fields is also looking forward to offering a priestly blessing to his parents after the ordination. “Since as early as I can remember, they only wanted for me what God wants for me,” he said.
And fittingly he will go home to St. Peter’s to celebrate his first Mass, on June 17 at 11 a.m.
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