Editorial: Seeing through his faith

The Patriot Ledger

The Rev. Arthur MacKay knew from the age of 14, the priesthood was his calling.

So when he was ordained last week and offered his first Mass at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Hanson, it was no surprise.

But unlike many of his fellow seminarians, Rev. MacKay had a full life in the outside world for four decades before giving his life over to God.

“I’ve learned to listen to that inner voice and let things work out,” the 55-year-old former optometrist said. “This is where God wants me to be now, and it feels very comfortable.”

Following his graduation from Boston College with a degree in chemistry and biology, he went against his “inner voice” and instead enrolled in the New England School of Optometry and embarked on a career as a hospital optometrist.

But his belief in his true calling never left and despite some self-doubt about whether he was sufficiently devout he contacted the Boston Archdiocese about entering the seminary.

Officials at the archdiocese wanted him to be sure he was making the right move and he underwent much counseling and evaluations.

Now, four years of seminary later, his doubts and those of the archdiocese have ceased, and he’s about to take his place as a priest at St. Catherine of Siena in Norwood beginning June 3.

Rev. MacKay, who served as a deacon at St. Joseph’s, is hoping to continue to use his skill and education as an optometrist by serving priests, nuns and needy patients several times a month.

Rev. MacKay is certain his life experiences prior to entering the priesthood will give him much to draw upon in ministering to his new flock.

He said there’s not as much difference between the two callings as one might think.

“It’s the same thing, really,” said Rev. MacKay. “Whether you’re talking souls or eyes, people are in pain and you can help.”