Deacon Tristan Dillon to be ordained to the priesthood

Friday, Jun. 10, 2022
Deacon Tristan Dillon to be ordained to the priesthood + Enlarge
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — A devotion to St. Joseph the Worker developed during his teenage years put Tristan Dillon on the path to the priesthood. He was ordained a deacon last year, and on June 24, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he will be ordained a priest by Bishop Oscar A. Solis at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
As a child, Deacon Dillon attended Mass with his mother at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Wash., where he grew up. When he was 16, his family moved to St. George and became parishioners at St. George Parish. As a teenager in a new state and community, he had few friends at first and began attending Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the parish. 
“Whether there was Adoration or not, I would go and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, praying to the Lord, to know what he wanted me to do with my life,” he said.
After he began participating in the theater department of Dixie High School, building sets, he was drawn to St. Joseph the Worker and would often ask the saint to help him understand his calling in the Lord’s vineyard, he said. “More and more, the still and silent voice just crept up on me to discern the priesthood.”
One day, during a display of relics at the church hall, he prayed that he would know what he should do with his life. 
“That still and silent voice became louder and louder and louder saying, ‘Become a priest,’” he said. “It was undeniably present, and I turned around and Father Oscar Picos was just 10 feet behind me.”
Deacon Dillon told Fr. Picos, who was then pastor of St. George Parish, of his experience. 
“‘I was wondering when you were going to ask me about that,’ he said,” Deacon Dillon recalled. 
Over the following months, Fr. Picos became a mentor to Deacon Dillon, who shortly after met with the diocesan vocations director at that time, Father Javier Virgen, and the Most Rev. John C. Wester, the ninth Bishop of Salt Lake City, to discuss his vocation. 
In the fall of 2013, after graduating from high school, Deacon Dillon enrolled in Mt. Angel Seminary, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and literature. In May, he graduated with his Master of Divinity and Master of Arts (theology). 
Deacon Dillon spent his pastoral year from 2019 to 2020 at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in West Jordan;  he also served a summer each at Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish in Price and St. John the Baptist Parish in Draper.
“Every parish is different, but the one common thing is that the people of God are amazing,” he said of those times. “I’ve been blessed with so many experiences with the parishioners, their kindness, their overwhelming joy, their devotion to God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
The seminary experience is challenging, he said, “but then you get to come back, be in the parish with the people of God, and it’s rejuvenating and exciting and everything is refocused. The seminary can be kind of a sterile experience, but then you get to be with the people of God and it feels like, ‘Oh I can keep doing formation and seminary for you; it makes sense for you.’”
Deacon Dillon said he is grateful for his instructors in the seminary. He grew particularly close to his formator, Father Ralph Reker, who will preach the homily at the newly ordained priest’s first Mass, which will be celebrated the day after his ordination.
Beginning in August, Deacon Dillon, who by then will have been ordained a priest, will serve as parochial vicar at St. George Parish. Although his family moved to Salt Lake City after three years in St. George, he still has a very strong connection to the parish there and is excited to serve, he said, “just to reenter into my home community, to bear witness to the beauty of the priesthood and the beauty of our Church, hopefully prove that formation does work. 
“Every parish experience I have had has been amazing, but St. George has been one of the most influential places in my life, to be in the stillness of the desert there but be surrounded by such a lively and wonderful community,” he continued. “Nine years of formation have been leading up to this but it’s not frightening or intimidating; it’s just exciting and natural. My entire being has been leading up to this; my entire existence has been leading up to this moment, and I’m excited to begin my priesthood in my hometown.”
Deacon Dillon hopes to help in the young adult and youth ministry and hopefully “be a positive force to young Catholics who are struggling in this world of rampant secularism, to say that ‘know that the things of the world promise a lot, but they give nothing’ and to bear witness to the joy of the priesthood and the Catholic faith,” he said. 

WHAT: Priesthood ordination  of Deacon Tristan Dillon
WHEN: Friday, June 24, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Cathedral of the Madeleine, 309 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City
All are welcome, but seating is limited. The Mass will be livecast on the cathedral’s YouTube channel, cotmtv.

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