Thomas Lugge ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Belleville on June 4

A young man who grew up in the parish of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Belleville was ordained to the sacred priesthood for the Diocese of Belleville.

Bishop Michael McGovern conferred the sacrament of Holy Orders upon Father Thomas Lugge June 4 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Belleville.

Father Lugge had a calling to ordained ministry from an early age, first thinking about the priesthood in third grade. The idea stayed with him until junior year in high school when he began to seriously discern if God was calling him to be a priest.

Father Lugge was appointed Parochial Vicar at St. Nicholas Parish in O’Fallon, effective July 1, 2022.

“Thomas, in the time we have known one another, it is clear to me that you have a good mind and enjoy academics and study,” Bishop McGovern said in the homily. “I hope as a priest, you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher. Share with everyone the Word of God you have received with joy. Remember with gratitude the people who first gave you the Word of God: your parents, your family, priests and teachers. Continue to pray with the Word of God. Allow it to form you as a man, as a disciple, and as a Priest. As the Word of God continues taking root in you, believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

Rite of Ordination
The rite of ordination began with Father Nick Junker, seminarians director for the diocese, who stood at the lectern and in the name of holy Mother Church asked Bishop McGovern to ordain the candidate, while testifying to his worthiness for ordination. The candidate then declared his willingness to accept the responsibilities of priesthood. The candidate then promised give respect and obedience to the bishop and his successors.

This was followed by the Litany of Supplication in which the candidate prostrated himself in prayer in the most solemn of all prayer postures, calling on Christ’s mercy and spirit and the prayers of all the saints.

After that came the laying on of hands in which Bishop McGovern lay his hands on the head of the elect bestowing the giving of the Holy Spirit and commissioning to service. All the priests present also laid hands as a sign of the unity of their priesthood.

The bishop then extended his hands in prayer over the elect recalling God’s ongoing love, an ongoing provision of ministers to the church and asked God to grant him the dignity of priesthood and a renewal of the spirit of holiness within him.

Afterward, Father Lugge was vested with the stole and chasuble by Father Nick Fleming and the bishop anointed the hands of Thomas Lugge with the sacred chrism oil, which symbolizes the priest’s participation in the priesthood of Christ through the sacrifices of his hands.

Father Thomas Lugge
Age: 26
Family: Parents, Doug and Jill Lugge; Siblings, Alicia, Robert, and Olivia.
Home parish: Cathedral of St. Peter, Belleville
Education: Cathedral grade school in Belleville. Belleville West High School. Franciscan University of Steubenville (BA in Philosophy and Theology). Kenrick-Glennon seminary, MA in Theology, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree (Roman degree), and a Master of Divinity degree.
First Mass as a priest: Cathedral of St. Peter at 10:30 a.m on Sunday, June 5.
The call:  Father Thomas Lugge says he has been interested in the priesthood since he was young.

“The first time that the idea of the priesthood was planted in my head was when a music teacher around third grade mentioned that I would make a good priest,” he says. “The idea really stuck with me in the back of my head as I grew up and entered high school. It wasn’t until junior year in high school that I began to seriously discern if God was calling me to be a priest.”

Father Lugge says that through that year, he was anxious about trying to figure out the answer to this question and the direction that God was calling him.

“I thought that I needed to answer these questions on my own,” he says. “Eventually, after hearing the witness of a newly ordained priest, I decided that God was calling me to this vocation, and that this is what I wanted.”

He says that after reaching this decision, God filled him with his peace and joy, and he knew that God had given him the grace to make this decision.

“After reaching this point, I began the process of opening myself up to God’s grace and conforming my life to Jesus,” he says. “I ended up being called to enter the Priestly Discernment Program at Franciscan University as a way of fulfilling my requirement for college seminary formation.”

After he graduated, he entered into Theology I at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, from which he graduatedlast month. He says his time at the seminary was very grace-filled, and he is grateful that God has called him to this process of growing as a man of God and as a priest.

“I know that I certainly would not be here without the incredible support and prayers of my family, friends, and all those in our Diocese who prayed for me, whether I have met them in their parishes or not,” he says.

Father Lugge added: “God has truly been at work in my life, and I have been incredibly blessed more than I could ever deserve, or even understand, in this calling to give my life to God and the people of the Diocese of Belleville.”