Fr. Caesarius Marple blesses his brother, Luke Marple, who was an altar server at the Mass.


Fr. Caesarius Marple blesses his brother, Luke Marple, who was an altar server at the Mass.

November 23, 2015

The congregation was speckled with poppies as it celebrated the priestly ordination of Father Caesarius Marple.

The Edmonton-born monk prostrated before the altar at Westminster Abbey in Mission, B.C., Nov. 11.

"To give glory to God, to be a man fully alive, to be a saint: this is my goal, and for that I am excited," said Marple. "I see my ordination to the priesthood as a step along the way, a step I am unworthy to make, but a step which God is asking of me."

Marple, born John, moved to Mission 10 years ago. He chose the name Caesarius after St. Caesarius of Arles, a monk born in France in 470 who became a bishop.

"No one can become a priest by himself," said Archbishop Michael Miller during his homily.

"Frater Caesarius is the recipient of a gift of grace. God alone has attracted him, and will introduce him into the priesthood," Miller said. "Behind every ordination is divine precedence, since by ourselves and our own power we cannot bring about so great a transformation."

The new priest's family and the monks also played an important role in this life-changing decision, he added.


"Under the gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is the Marple family which first inspired and nourished his vocation," the monks taught "that God must be at the centre of all things, that nothing is more important in this life than seeking him."

Family members from Alberta and from as far away as Texas filled the first four pews in the abbey church.

"I'm very proud of John because the Lord called him and he answered," said the monk's father Charles Marple.

"My wife had priests and nuns in her aunts and uncles, but on the Marple side, this is the first."

Father Marple has thanked two family members for having a significant impact in his discernment: his youngest sister, Mary, and his grandmother.

Mary, who has a disability, taught him how to love. "She taught me you can be joyful in poverty, dependence, and vulnerability," he told The B.C. Catholic after his ordination as a deacon a year ago.

His grandmother prayed constantly that a family member - she hoped one of her sons - would become a priest.

"She prayed for a priest all her life," Charles said. "She passed away a couple of years ago, but she's probably rejoicing in heaven."

Cousin Stephanie Richmond shed tears as she watched Father Marple embrace the priests immediately after being ordained.

"We grew up together," she said. "I haven't seen him in 10 years, so it's overwhelming to see him, and see how happy he is . He was always gentle, generous and strong in his faith," she said.

John is also a skilled musician.

"One day his mom came into the house and thought Mozart was playing on the stereo. It was John playing on the piano," Richmond said. "He's always been talented at music, which is a really nice gift that he gets to give now."


Marple sings with the monks in a schola (group of musicians) or accompanies their chants on the organ.

The new priest is in his second year of a two-year bachelor of education program at Trinity Western University. After he graduates, he will likely teach at the Seminary of Christ the King.

"Frater, do your part in sharing with the people of God the light of Christ the Priest with genuine love and joy," Miller said.