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Prayer request: Young priest ordained in a wheelchair dies

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/14/17

Some sad news out of Canada:

We are deeply saddened to share with you that Father Trevor Plug, Associate Pastor of St. Alfred Parish, died suddenly this morning while on holiday in British Columbia. Please pray that God will grant him eternal peace and pray also for his family and our Diocesan family and for all who mourn his loss.

His ordination made headlines last year:

None of Fr. Trevor Plug’s seminary professors is quite willing to say Plug is the first man to be ordained a priest in a wheelchair, but then none of them could find any precedents either.

Thirty-one-year-old Plug was born in St. Catharines, Ont., with spina bifida, a genetic condition that causes babies to be born with the spinal cord partially uncovered by the sheath of membranes and backbone that normally encloses around it. Plug has lived his whole life in a wheelchair.

“He’s canonically, validly ordained,” said St. Catharines Bishop Gerard Bergie. “He may not be physically perfect in every way, but he can function in every way to celebrate Mass. The only thing is, he’s not able bodied.”

Canon law has a long list of things that bar a man from priesthood, including “psychic illness,” a history of public apostasy, attempted marriage, etc. But there’s no mention of physical disability. Bergie, a canon lawyer before he was made a bishop, saw no problem in ordaining Plug. In fact, the bishop believes his diocese has just gained an exceptional priest.

“It’s true that he won’t be your typical priest in that he will be in a wheelchair, but he will be as effective as anyone else,” Bergie said. “What they will see in him is a man who has been able to overcome adversity… I think he will be able to touch many people in ways that probably I could never touch them. I think he will be a sign of hope. And I think it’s very appropriate in this Year of Mercy that he’s being ordained. It speaks so profoundly about God’s mercy — that it is meant to be healing. We’re all broken in our own ways.”

Read more.And pray for Father Plug and those who love him.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…

Photo: Catholic Register/Diocese of St. Catherines

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