Priestly Ordination June 8 – All invited to witness important moment for Diocese

The Diocese of Venice relies on dedicated men who have committed their lives to serving God. One such man will be ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 2024, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

Transitional Deacon Thomas Gregory Dougherty has completed his priestly formation and has been called to ordination by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who will be the presiding prelate. The ordination will be 11 a.m., June 8, at Our Lady of Lourdes, 1301 Center Road, Venice, while Epiphany Cathedral undergoes reconstruction.

In addition to Bishop Dewane, the Mass will include a number of priests, deacons, religious, family and friends from across the Diocese.

“This is one of the most beautiful and rarely seen Sacraments in the Church,” Bishop Dewane explained. “It is a public response to the Call to Holiness, which comes with great responsibility and accountability. The Diocese of Venice is blessed that, year after year, men are hearing the call of the Lord, and responding.”

All are welcome and encouraged to attend the Ordination, said Bishop Dewane. “It is important the faithful support each Ordination as the Priest is a future link to the continuation of the Sacraments. This is a life-changing, lifelong commitment and Priests, especially new Priests, need the support and encouragement of the faithful.”

During Ordination to the Priesthood, Deacon Dougherty will freely present himself to serve God, the Church and the Bishop of the Diocese of Venice and his successors. He will also make a renewed commitment to celibacy and promise obedience.

Deacon Dougherty, 55, has been studying at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, which specializes in formation for later vocations. He was raised in East Dundee, Illinois, a quiet suburb of Chicago. Although a later vocation, Deacon Dougherty said he thought about becoming a priest in high school, even enrolling in a minor seminary but never attended because he was conflicted about his decision. He graduated from Bradley University and Middle Tennessee State University, becoming an elementary school teacher in Winchester, Tennessee. He transitioned into industrial sales for several years before following the call of God by returning to teaching, developing catechetical programs for Catholic education just prior to entering seminary.

“The noise of the world muffled the call for several years, but God directly intervened in my life at the age of 39, which reawakened that call,” Deacon Dougherty said. As a seminarian within the Diocese, Deacon Dougherty has had pastoral assignments at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota and Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton. While in seminary, Deacon Dougherty’s pastoral assignment was with the Archdiocese of Boston’s Pro-Life Office.

Deacon Dougherty said he is humbled by all that the ordination means. “I have a strong devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and am active in spreading that devotion to others. I look forward to the day I will serve Holy Mother Church as a priest. This opportunity is truly a blessing, and I am overwhelmed by God’s grace and mercy through the generosity of Bishop Dewane and the many others who have made this journey possible.”

While Deacon Doughtery will be ordained on June 8, there are still other men in the Diocese of Venice who are at various stages in their priestly formation, either in college or at a seminary where they continue their studies toward the ordained priesthood. The Diocese of Venice asks that the faithful remember Deacon Dougherty, and all those discerning priesthood, in their prayers.

Parishioners are encouraged to help support Diocesan seminarians in their studies and choice of vocation. To contribute to the education of seminarians, send a check to the Diocese of Venice, Office of Vocations, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285 or visit the website at

For those considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, please visit, or contact Diocesan Director of Vocations, Father Alex Pince at