On June 11, 2022, the Congregation of the Mission Western Province will gather at 10 a.m. (CDT) at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Perryville, MO, to honor six priests who celebrate their 40-year jubilees: Fr. Tony Dosen, C.M., Fr. Miles Heinen, C.M., Fr. Gerard Kelly, C.M., Fr. Kevin McCracken, C.M., Fr. Binh Nguyen, C.M., and Fr. Ray Van Dorpe, C.M.

The Mass will be broadcast live on the Western Province Facebook page, and a slideshow representing their careers is available HERE. If you would like to contribute toward the recruitment and formation of the next generation of Vincentian priests and brothers, you may do so online HERE.

Father Anthony Dosen, C.M., hails from the south side of Chicago, where he went to Sacred Heart Elementary School before deciding to try out seminary life at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Lemont, IL.  Making his way through the seminary program, he was ordained at the De Andreis chapel on June 5, 1982.

Over the years of his formation and priestly ministry, Fr. Tony developed a love for music and for education. Along the way he collected a long list of degrees, including a Ph.D. in education from Marquette University in Milwaukee and Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the University of St. Mary’s of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois.

Teaching in high school seminaries covered the first 12 years of assignments for Fr. Tony. When he completed his Ph.D. in 1997, he began teaching in the College of Education at DePaul University. He eventually became an associate professor, retiring from that position in 2017.

Fr. Tony was also instrumental in the formation of our own Vincentian students in Chicago, beginning with his appointment as Associate Formation Director in 2003 and then as Formation Director until 2020. In that same year, he was appointed by Fr. Patrick McDevitt, C.M., as the Mission Officer of the Western Province, the position he holds currently.

Of his four decades as a Vincentian priest, Fr. Tony says, “My years of priesthood were filled with surprises and many consolations.  I thought that I would spend my life being a priest-teacher working with high school aged students.  Little did I realize that God had other plans.  I became a missionary.  A missioner to the educated and not so educated; to the wealthy and the poor; to my brothers in formation over the years and to the homeless at the expressway exit.  So much, so fast… It seems like yesterday that the journey began.”

Father Miles Heinen, C.M., was born and raised in Dallas, TX, just down the street from Holy Trinity Parish, which was and is staffed by the Vincentians. So, it was probably not a surprise that when he expressed an interest in the priesthood, he was steered to St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Beaumont, TX. His vocational discernment wasn’t a straight path, but he found his way to the altar and was ordained at Holy Trinity on June 12, 1982. His first assignment was Associate Pastor at Holy Trinity, which certainly made Mrs. Heinen very happy!

Three years later, though, Fr. Miles got the missionary bug and was assigned, with other Vincentians, to the parish in San Benito, Guatemala. He ministered there for seven years, returning to the states in 1992. After a short rest and special studies, Fr. Miles joined the Multi-Cultural Ministry Team being developed by the former Southern Province in Fayetteville, AR. There, he put his Spanish language skills to good use and helped develop a successful outreach ministry to Hispanic Catholics. That was a labor of love for 11 years!

Hearing another need in the Church, he went back to the seminary – this time St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA – to earn a degree in theology. He eventually returned there in 2005 to work in the Pastoral Formation program. In 2009, God revealed a new plan. The superior general, Fr. Gregory Gay, appointed Fr. Miles to head the Vincentian Solidarity Office, which raises and distributes funds for projects serving the poor, mostly in third-world countries.

At the General Assembly of 2016, the confreres from international community elected Fr. Miles to the office of Assistant General, which he now holds, with residence at the Vincentian General Curia in Rome.

About his 40th anniversary as a Vincentian priest, Fr. Miles states, “Anniversaries are funny things. You remember to celebrate again or, perhaps, to enliven what was celebrated then. I thank God that I am positioned to use the next few years to accompany the kingdom of God’s doing by helping people hear the call of God’s Spirit in a life-changing way. What an adventure!”

Father Gerard Kelly, C.M., was born and raised on the north side of Chicago and was educated at St. Bartholmew School. He followed his older brother to St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Lemont, IL, and persevered through the formation program of the Vincentians until his ordination at De Andreis chapel on June 5, 1982.

Fr. Gerry’s first assignments were in the seminary apostolate, where he guided students with a combination of humor and wisdom until 1994. In that year, he was assigned to St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Perryville, MO. That experience helped him hone his pastoral skills, which served him well for his next assignment – Chaplain of the Staff for Catholic Charities in Chicago. Fr. Gerry has held this position since 1998.

Reflecting on his 40 years of priesthood, Fr. Gerry says, “Years ago, when I was going to a new assignment, a confrere gave me some wise advice. ‘If you are going there to be of service to the people of God, you will be very happy and find meaning in what you’re doing. If you are going there for any other reason, God help you!!!’ All of the assignments I’ve had have been life-giving. I’ve had an awareness in all of them that God is with me. The most memorable and life-changing time was bringing communion to Karla Pavlovsky the last year and a half of her life. She was young wife and mother of two who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer after the birth of her second child. I’m a better person, a better priest because I knew her.”

Father Kevin McCracken, C.M., is another member of the ordination class of 1982 who owes his vocation – at least in some part – to the fact that he grew up near a Vincentian seminary. In his case, it was St. Vincent de Paul minor seminary in Montebello, CA, his hometown. In fact, Fr. Kevin remembers going there with his dad when he was just a tyke! As a “lifer,” he went straight through the prescribed seminary program at the time and was ordained at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church on June 18, 1982.

After three years of pastoral ministry at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Phoenix, AZ, Fr. Kevin returned to studies and earned a master’s degree in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. With sheepskin in hand, he spent the next 26 years devoted to the seminary apostolate, first at St. John’s College Seminary in Camarillo, California, and then at St. John’s Seminary (theologate), right next door. In addition to his teaching duties, he served in a number of administrative roles, as well as a spiritual director for the seminarians. In the local community, he also took his turn as the local superior.

In 2013, he was appointed provincial treasurer of the Western Province. Three years later, he was also appointed to serve as spiritual director of the Association of the Miraculous Medal. He currently holds both of those positions.

Fr. Kevin has this to share about his years of priestly service as a Vincentian: “I was attracted to the priesthood because I fell in love with the Liturgy, especially the Mass, at a very young age.

“I was attracted to the Congregation of the Mission because the Vincentians I met were down to earth and enjoyed living in community together. My favorite experiences of priesthood involve celebrating the Eucharist or a Sacramental rite with a community of believers who are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ and enlivened by the grace of the sacraments. I love celebrating the Eucharist with diverse communities, parishioners, pilgrims, religious, seminarians, brother Vincentians, and many other groups. Teaching liturgical courses in the seminary was a good experience, especially when the seminarians had the desire to embrace the Church as a Eucharistic community. I also found my formation work with seminarians to be rewarding. I hope to continue to celebrate the liturgy with believers and have opportunities to present adult liturgical and sacramental formation programs.”

Father Binh Nguyen, C.M., as you might guess from his name, is originally from Vietnam. After attending St. Joseph Seminary in Saigon, he entered the Vincentian novitiate at Dalat in 1970 during the height of the Vietnam War. However, his studies for the priesthood were interrupted in 1975 when the North Vietnamese Army captured Saigon and he was forced to leave the country. Making his way to the United States, he finished his theological studies at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Northampton, PA, with the confreres of the Eastern Province. He was ordained a priest at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Montebello, CA, on June 18, 1982.

A man of many talents for ministry, Father Binh has worked in a number of Vincentian parishes all over the United States, devoting himself often to serving Vietnamese Catholics. He has also done retreat work and has been a seminary faculty member. In addition to his seminary education, Fr. Binh earned a master’s degree in spirituality from the University of San Francisco. He is currently a “confrere in residence” at St. Mary’s of the Barrens in Perryville, MO.

When asked about his favorite assignment over the years, Fr. Binh replied, “My first assignment, still as a seminarian, was to go to St. Vincent’s parish in Huntington Beach, CA. The parish was newly founded by the Vincentians. The only facility was the rectory. The weekday Masses were celebrated in the rectory, and the weekend Masses were celebrated in a mortuary chapel. By the time I was ordained, the parish hall had been completed, so my first Mass was celebrated there. People liked to come to the parish and felt like they were members of a big family; they volunteered to do whatever the parish needed. Services were celebrated in three different languages: English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. It was a really Vincentian Parish: The needy were helped by their fellow parishioners. The confreres and people were friendly; all worked together to build a parish community. It was my favorite assignment.”

Father Ray Van Dorpe, C.M., comes from Chicago, IL, and has been a priest in the Congregation of the Mission since 1982. He has been assigned to the seminary apostolate in St. Louis, rural parish ministry in the Diocese of Pueblo, CO, and then lay and ordained ministry formation in that same diocese. Beginning in 2002, Fr. Ray served the Congregation in a variety of leadership roles, first as assistant provincial, then provincial treasurer, and finally as provincial of the Western Province until 2020. After enjoying a sabbatical/medical leave he was assigned to the Communications Department of the Western Province and as chaplain for the Seton Residence of the Daughters of Charity in Evansville, IN, where he currently lives. In his spare time, Fr. Ray enjoys reading and cooking.

After reflecting on his 40 years of ordained ministry, Fr. Ray shares this: “For the past 40 years, God has called me serve him in many different kinds of priestly ministry. I’ve taught in a seminary, served in parishes, visited the sick in hospitals and the incarcerated in prisons. I’ve done ministry formation and administration at a pastoral center and served in various roles of provincial leadership. Now I serve the senior Daughters of Charity in Evansville, IN, and nearby parishes with preaching and sacramental ministry. In all these various roles of ministry, I have been blessed to have found skills I didn’t know I had and found good people to make up for the skills I didn’t have. Along the way, many wonderful folks have been supported and befriended me. God has been very good to me!”