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Meet our priests: Father Joseph K. Raeke


Father Joseph K. Raeke Pilot file photo

Parish/assignment: St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Bridgewater

Place of birth: Boston

How many brothers and sisters do you have? Two sisters and six brothers

High school: B.C. High

College/university/ seminary: Undergraduate -- St. John’s Seminary College

Seminary (Theology) -- St. John’s Seminary

Date of ordination: June 14, 1980

What assignments have you had since ordination?

St. Joseph, Quincy; St. Michael, Avon; Pope John High School, Everett; Holy Family, Duxbury; St. Joseph, Holbrook, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bridgewater

What have been some of the greatest joys for you as a priest?

Receiving people into the faith, leading pilgrimages, conducting Bible classes, celebrating each of the sacraments

Who influenced your vocation most to consider the priesthood?

Father Charlie Anadore was my parish priest and he was joyful, holy and kind. He made priesthood very attractive.

What events or practices in your life helped you to discover and discern your call to the priesthood?

I was part of a group in junior high for boys who thought they might have a vocation. I entered the seminary after high school and then took a year between college and graduate school to travel and discern my vocation.

What is one of your favorite scripture passages and why?

John 15:9-12 “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in My love. You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and live in his love. All this I tell you that my joy may be yours and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” This passage speaks of Jesus’ love for us and that He calls us friends. It is reassuring that Jesus sees us as precious friends.

What are some of your hobbies?

I like to read, play tennis, travel, and spend time with my family

What advice would you give to a young man who is considering the priesthood?

Surround yourself with faith-filled people, try to find a spiritual director to help with the discernment and pray for openness to God’s will

What are some of your favorite books/ spiritual reading/ magazines?

“Left to Tell” by Imaculee Ilibigiza, any spiritual book, The Priest magazine and Medjugorje magazine

Through the cardinal, God is calling each of us personally to help rebuild his Church. How must the priest respond to this mandate today?

By being a person of hope and prayer and boldness

When Cardinal Seán came to Boston, he wrote a pastoral letter entitled: “Vocations: Everybody’s Business.” What are some ways that we can help all individuals and families understand their role in promoting and supporting vocations?

If we give our parishioners a sense of their own vocation to holiness, they will see that the work of the Church involves us all. The priesthood is essential for the growth of the Church. We all need to promote vocations!