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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 Sacraments.

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.

One day 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 priest.

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

Lord, 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.


 


 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Baker 
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