FATHER BAILEY CLEMENS
I was raised on a ranch in Burns, Oregon. Ranch life proved
to help me in my later years of priesthood, yet most
important was my Catholic faith. My father and mother
always kept the four children committed to Mass and the
After graduating from Burns Union High, I attended Ron
Bailie School of Broadcasting in Portland and became a disc
jockey for radio. I worked in radio for some years and
later in retail for a large sporting goods store in
Phoenix, Arizona. I also worked for MCI in sales.
After some time in the business world, I accepted an
invitation to join my aunt who was a missionary sister in
Uganda, East Africa. My younger sister and I left October
1986 for two years of missionary work. It was near the end
of my stay in Uganda that I received my calling to be a priest.
as I was traveling to Kampala to buy food and medical
supplies, I was stopped at a road block. On this day a
young man asked for a ride. I usually hesitated because
cars were often hi-jacked. I took a risk and took him to
the next town. As we were driving through the savannah, he
asked if I would baptize him. I said, “I am not a priest.”
He did not understand. Somehow, I had remembered that we
are all called to baptize if a person is in danger of death
and there is no priest available. He was going to the front
lines of the war the next day. I remembered the words of
the baptismal rite and took my drinking water out as we
stopped under an acacia tree. I remembered hearing the
sound of mourning doves at a distance. The young man
(Thomas) came around the vehicle and took off his hat. I
slowly poured the water over his head and recited the
words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” I heard a voice, “priest.” I
knew from that day on that I was to become a priest.
When I returned to the United States in September of
1988, I began my undergraduate work in philosophy at Saint
Edwards University in Austin, Texas. I lived in a
discernment house of study for religious life. I later
believed I was called to the Diocesan priesthood. After
spending some time in Peoria, Illinois, I joined their
Diocese and began seminary the fall of 1993 at Mount Saint
Mary’s Seminary in Emmittsburg, Maryland. My time at the
seminary was a great adventure. It was always filled with
excitement for I had discovered God’s will---to adore, to
study, to recreate, to do pastoral work and to become a
I was ordained by Bishop John Myers on May 23, 1998, the
year of the Holy Spirit. I spent seven years in the Diocese
of Peoria before God called me home to Eastern Oregon.
Bishop Vasa welcomed me with an assignment as Pastor at
Saint Mary’s in Pendleton. It was my fourth Marian parish
of the five of my priestly ministry. I have been in
Pendleton now since July of 2005 and have found this time
with the people of Pendleton to be one of great blessings.
I thank the good Lord and Our Blessed Mother for my
years as a Diocesan priest and would ask that you continue
to pray for me on my journey.
Prayer to Know One's Vocation
my God and my loving Father,
you have made me to know you,
to love you, to serve you,
and thereby to find and to fulfill myself.
I know that you are in all things,
and that every path can lead me to you.
But of them all, there is one especially
by which you want me to come to you.
Since I will do what you want of me,
I pray you, send your Holy Spirit to me:
into my mind, to show me what you want of me;
into my heart, to give me the determination to do it,
and to do it with all my love, with all my mind,
and with all my strength right to the end.