PORTLAND — Bishop Robert P. Deeley will celebrate a Mass of Priestly Ordination for Deacon Edward Clifford at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland on Saturday, June 14 at 10 a.m.

Clifford, 51, is a native of Shawmut, a village of Fairfield. He attended Yarmouth High School but graduated from high school in Milford, Ohio in 1981. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Maine in Orono. This spring, he earned a second master’s degree, this one in divinity, from Pope Saint John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass.

“I definitely have that feeling of calmness, a sense of peace that says this is the right thing that God is calling me to,” said Clifford, when asked about his upcoming ordination.

Clifford considered the priesthood as far back as his college days, but he went on to have a successful career in business and management. He served as Biddeford city manager and then as director of Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach Transit.

While attending Mass one weekend, Clifford heard Fr. Renald Labarre talking about vocations and says he felt like Labarre was talking directly to him. On another occasion, Clifford felt a chill go up his spine as he watched a visiting priest process up the aisle during a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Joseph Church in Biddeford. Feeling it was time to act, he contacted the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Vocations. 

“I was a single man with a love for the church, and I thought God was calling me, so I had to step up,” he said.

Based on his own experiences, Clifford encourages other men who are discerning priestly vocations to pursue it if they think they are called.

“God will make it clear through prayer,” he said. “Don’t assume you have to have it all figured out. The time in seminary is a time for discernment, to really find out if God is calling you to this life.”

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