By Christina Gray

At an age when some men are retiring after a long career, Deacon David Mees is starting a new one.

The 58-year-old Morgan Hill native and seminarian at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University was ordained to the transitional diaconate Sept. 9 and will be ordained to the priesthood in the summer of 2024.

“For me, finding my vocation at a later age,” said Mees, “I had either never heard the call before or I wasn’t listening to it.”

Raised in a Catholic home, he went to Mass every Sunday, but his faith “didn’t really hit me,” he said, until after he graduated from college.

Mees was hired to teach math at De La Salle, a Catholic high school in Concord, California, where he said “my relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church grew and became more committed.”

He left teaching to take a job as a land surveyor for an urban public works department, enjoyed his life and dated.

But he felt “an inner tug” toward something that did not point toward marriage. The thought of the priesthood grew stronger, and he signed up for a discernment retreat. “I didn’t want to live out the rest of my life not knowing whether I was called to be a priest,” he said.

The words of one of the speakers sticks with him to this day.

“He said it is the responsibility of everyone to spend some time discerning what God has called them to do,” he said.

He entered the seminary at age 50.

“It’s not daunting at all,” he said of becoming a later-in-life priest. “I’ve had many years to see what a priest’s life is like.”

Mees will serve as a transitional deacon for a year at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Burlingame.

Christina Gray is the lead writer for Catholic San Francisco.