‘Be willing to give God everything’
by Paula Wright
On Sept. 17, 2021, diocesan seminarian Nicholas Newton was ordained to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate in St. Agnes Cathedral by The Most Rev. Edward M. Rice, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. The middle child of John and Katie Newton, Rev. Mr. Newton is from the Springfield, MO area, and a previous member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. He earned a Bachelor degree in Philosophy from Conception Seminary, and a Masters of Divinity from St. Meinrad Seminary.
The Mirror recently visited with Newton about receiving his Holy Orders and he shared a couple of memories that stood out to him.
“As I was kneeling before Bishop Rice, he presented me the Book of the Gospel, and said ‘Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach,’” Newton said, “it became very real to me…the promise I was receiving and the commitment I was making to the promise. In addition, during the reception following my ordination, a dear friend of mine asked me to bless a rosary, it hit me that a change had just occurred, I was a ‘new’ person now.”
Newton experienced his initial calling to religious life at his First Communion.
“As I grew, the calling within me also grew, and now, today, I find it very easy to say yes to God’s calling. I cannot imagine doing anything else,” he stated.
He credits many for their inspiration and influence on the path to priesthood, including Msgr. Thomas Reidy, Fr. Scott Sunnenberg, Fr. Joji Vincent, Deacon Dan Vaughn, and Fr. J. Friedel. Newton is especially grateful to his parents.
“I have had tremendous support from my parents too, particularly my dad, with whom I am very close,” Newton said. “He has shared my joys and has shown me how to be a spiritual father to others.”
As a newly ordained deacon, Newton looks forward to celebrating the sacraments, being part of key events in people’s lives such as baptism, marriage, and funerals; and overall, being in service to others in a greater capacity.
Reflecting on his time at the seminary, Rev. Mr. Newton stated that a community and brotherhood is formed at seminary.
“Every Labor Day, there is a float trip and this year’s trip stands out to me especially. As we were floating, we pulled over on the riverbank and celebrated Mass then ate lunch before continuing,” he said. “I realized that holding the Mass on the riverbank, and giving all to God, was just natural. I felt such a blessing to be there at that moment.”
For those discerning a religious vocation, Newton offered the following advice:
“I would tell them not to be afraid. Be willing to give God everything, you will never be disappointed,” Newton said. “No matter what you are called to do, if love of God and love of neighbor are part of your life, if you have these, anything you do will bring joy. Without this focus, everything will seem like work.”