Bishop Joseph E. Strickland will ordain Jonathon Frels to the transitional diaconate May 30 at 10 a.m. in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Frels, 41, is a native of Corpus Christi and a son of Dan and Susan Frels, both deceased. He has a younger brother, Matthew.
He has a bachelor of science in chemistry from Southwest Texas State University and a PhD in chemistry from Texas A&M. He is a seminarian at Pope John XXIII National Seminary in Boston, Mass.
Frels has lived in East Texas since 2002, when he moved to Longview to work at Eastman Chemical Company there. It was while working there that he began discerning his call to the priesthood.
“I was in my early 30s when I first started considering the priesthood,” he said. “I had finally woken up to my faith and had begun to be active at the parish. I started helping with faith formation, attending some classes, and participating in adoration.
“As I got more involved, the idea of priesthood seemed to keep recurring,” he said. “I began to notice that I was more fulfilled when I was volunteering at the church than when I was working at my job. It didn’t happen overnight, but I eventually decided that if helping out part-time was good, then perhaps full-time work would be better.”
Frels said science and his faith fit easily together.
“I think the tension between faith and science is mostly artificial,” he said. “There is a perception of conflict because the methods, language and style are different.
“Faith and science are also focused on different things. Science is focused on the natural world, while faith is more concerned with the supernatural world. The natural and supernatural are connected, but we study them in different ways.
“It would be nice if more people could appreciate how both science and faith can complement and assist each other,” Frels said. “Science can help clearly define the issues, and theology and faith can help apply that knowledge according to the law of love.”
Frels has been serving his pastoral year at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler.