A holy communion at Marblehead parish

MARBLEHEAD – On the day he celebrated the 38th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, Rev. Michael Steele, pastor of Our Lady, Star of the Sea parish in Marblehead, played a meaningful role in the ordination of a young man from Lynn beginning his priestly journey.Rev. Steele had the honor of placing the vestments on Rev. Sinisa Ubiparipovic in the ordination ceremony at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston May 23. Later that afternoon, he marked his own milestone at 4 p.m. Mass at Star of the Sea.As it turns out, Rev. Steele was filling in for Rev. James Gaudreau, the pastor of St. Joseph?s in Lynn, who inspired Rev. Ubiparipovic to consider the priesthood. Rev. Gaudreau was accused in 2012 of sexual abuse of a child in 2006. Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett cleared Rev. Gaudreau in September 2013, but he remains on administrative leave as the Archdiocese of Boston conducts an internal investigation.Rev. Gaudreau connected Rev. Ubiparipovic with Rev. Steele and the two became friends over the last several months. When it came time to pick someone to vest him, Rev. Ubiparipovic chose Rev. Steele.?Father Gaudreau told me Father Steele would be a good mentor for me,” said Rev. Ubiparipovic, who did not decide on his vocation until his college years.A native of the former Yugoslavia, he was 6 years old in 1993 when his father was killed in the war. A year later, he moved to Germany with his mother, Mirjana, and brother, Danijel. The family came to the U.S. in 1999, eventually settling in Lynn.Rev. Ubiparipovic went to Marshall Middle School and St. Mary?s High School as a freshman, before his family moved to Pennsylvania for two years. He came back as a senior and graduated from Lynn English.He worked at the St. Joseph?s rectory, giving Rev. Gaudreau the opportunity to ask him if he ever thought about the priesthood. At that point in Rev. Ubiparipovic?s life, the answer was no.?It wasn?t until college when I experienced the emptiness of the world, that I asked God what he wanted me to do with my life,” he said.A visit to New York in 2008 to hear Pope Benedict speak had a lasting effect on him. “There was a drastic shift in my heart,” Rev. Ubiparipovic said. “I had a strong impulse toward the priesthood that I couldn?t ignore.”He graduated from Bentley a semester early and, after working in Boston as an auditor for several months, entered St. John?s Seminary in the fall of 2009, embarking on a journey that culminated in his ordination. His first assignment is at St. Paul?s in Hingham.After saying his first Mass at St. Joseph?s May 24, Rev. Ubiparipovic celebrated Mass at Star of the Sea May 30, with a proud Rev. Steele looking on.?He is deeply spiritual,” Rev. Steele said of his priestly protégé. “He knows what it means to have nothing.”Rev. Steele was happy to provide guidance to a fellow North Shore resident, as he grew up in Saugus, graduating from Saugus High in 1968 and Merrimack College in 1972. He was stationed at Blessed Sacrament in Walpole and St. Susanna in Dedham before serving 12 years as assistant director of religious education for the archdiocese.After 11 years as pastor of St. Joseph in Wakefield, Rev. Steele came to Marblehead in 2007.?Marblehead is a wonderful community,” he said.Star of the Sea is thriving under his guidance, as the number of students in religious education has grown from 350 to 900. This year, 104 children received their First Communion and 72 were confirmed.?Things are going really well,” he said. “I?m very happy to be at Star of the Sea.”

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