Dear parishioners of Christ the King Parish,
My name is Fr. Cameron Cortens, C.S.C., and I am very excited to be joining you as your new associate pastor! I’d like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce myself and my story to you all.
I am a first-generation immigrant in this country—born in Syracuse, New York, a few short years after my parents were married and moved here from central Canada. My family moved around a lot in the first five years of my life, following my father’s career as a university professor of philosophy. This included one year here in South Bend, while he taught at Notre Dame as an adjunct. Eventually, we settled in Boise, Idaho, where I grew up together with my three younger sisters.
I have been Catholic all of my life, and I first started to get a calling from God to discern priesthood when I was 17 years old. Before entering a seminary, I came as a college student to Notre Dame, to pursue a deeper Catholic intellectual formation in the study of philosophy and theology. During my time at ND, I was drawn to religious life, and to Holy Cross in particular, because of this order’s dedication to Catholic education, the variety of apostolates we serve, and the authentic joy that I could observe in the lives of various Holy Cross priests living out their vocation at ND.
After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I lived in Wexford, Ireland for one year with an intentional Christian community called the House of Brigid (or Teach Bhríde in Irish) serving as a piano accompanist and a catechist for Clonard Church of the Annunciation. This year further confirmed my desire for a vocation lived in the context of a religious community, seeking to share all things in common as the early Church in Jerusalem did. I entered seminary formation with Holy Cross the following year.
In my time as a seminarian, my experiences have shaped who I am as a minister after the heart of Christ. These have included service to those in poverty with Stone Soup Community and Our Lady of the Road, accompanying college undergraduate students both in the dorms of Notre Dame and in the classrooms of Holy Cross College, and helping to lead and guide Notre Dame’s student chapter of the Catholic Peace Fellowship. Holy Cross formation has also blessed me with the opportunity to become fluent in Spanish, when I spent a pastoral year serving at Nuestra Madre Santísima de la Luz (Our Most Holy Mother of the Light), a Holy Cross run parish in Guadalupe, N.L., México. In the process I’ve developed a great love and appreciation for Mexican culture, and of Latin-American expressions of the Faith.
I come to Christ the King now as a priest ordained a little over a year. My recent assignment has been as an associate pastor at Holy Redeemer Parish in Portland, Oregon. Though leaving that community has been difficult, I look forward with joyful anticipation to the new bonds that will form here as I enter your community, striving with the Holy Spirit’s help to be for you an image and presence of Christ, the Good Shepherd, who is our Lord and King.
Peace and God bless,
Fr. Cameron Cortens, C.S.C.