A Man of the World Becomes a Servant for Christ

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By Felix Carroll (Sep 20, 2010)
"Rev" — that's what his classmates called him as a kid, because even then it was obvious to all who knew him that Kenneth Dos Santos had a calling. But it was a calling deferred.

Before he chased the collar, he chased the dollar. It made him miserable. He remained miserable until he finally answered God's call with an overdue affirmative. Eight years in formation later, "Rev" is now "Father."

"I can't even express how happy I am today. It's just beyond words," said Fr. Ken Dos Santos, MIC, in the moments after his ordination to the sacred priesthood Saturday, Sept. 18, at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.

Before vesting him to the priesthood by the laying on of hands, the principal celebrant of the ordination Mass, the Most Rev. Martin D. Holley, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D.C., invoked the Marians' founder, Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701), in urging Fr. Ken to keep Mary Immaculate close to his heart throughout his priestly ministry.

"Above all, may the Blessed Virgin Mary be your model as one of humble service who, like her Son Jesus Christ, came to serve and not be served," Bishop Holley said.

+ + + View a gallery of Fr. Ken's ordination and first Mass. + + +

A Repair Man in Need of Repair
The first of four children of Deacon Ken and Alice Dos Santos of Litchfield, Conn., Fr. Ken remembers his mother once posing the following scenario to him when he was child: If the family home caught fire, what would he want to save?

His answer: "The statue of Our Lady and the rosary."

But the house never caught fire, and the boy became a man in a world where fiery faith can easily be smothered under the phony promises of materialism. With talents fit for the temporal world, Ken parlayed his abilities to repair things — toasters, TVs, you name it — into a successful career in electronics, then computers.

And the more money he made, the more he spent.

"I had what everybody thinks they want," he recalls. "But I wasn't happy. I got caught up in this big circle of misery."

He eventually made some poor career decisions and, in his mid-30s, he lost it all. His mother urged him to get more involved in church. She urged him to pray the Rosary every day.

"I would say, 'Yeah, and as soon as I do, I'll become a priest,'" recalls Fr. Ken with a laugh.

He began praying the Rosary. He began going to daily Mass. And his hunch proved correct. Eight years ago, Fr. Ken joined the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, drawn to a community of men who seek to serve Christ and His Church and who are charged with spreading the message of The Divine Mercy and devotion to Mary Immaculate.

The things he seeks to repair now are the broken lives of God's people, particularly through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. "That's the most powerful means where Jesus makes His mercy present — and in the person of the priest," said Fr. Ken.

'A Man of the Heart'
Family, friends, and fellow Marians packed the Shrine for the Mass of Ordination. In the minutes leading up to the entrance hymn, Fr. Ken's mother, Alice, led the recitation of the Rosary, the prayer that has served the Dos Santos family as a spiritual lifeline to Christ's redemptive love.

For Alice, the lifeline saved her son, whose ordination was an answer to prayers.

"I just felt that the Lord was pulling him, and the Holy Mother kept guiding him," she said through tears of happiness following the Mass.

His fellow Marians say Fr. Ken is "a man of the heart," said Fr. Andy Davy, MIC, who was a seminarian with Fr. Ken. "He loves in a special way the theology of St. Augustine who also was a man of the heart. Augustine gave us the beautiful quote, 'Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.' I know that this quote means a lot to Fr. Ken."

"Regarding Fr. Ken, I am reminded of the Gospel of John when Jesus gives high praise to Nathaniel, saying "Here is a man in whom there is no guile," said Fr. Jim McCormack, MIC, referring to the passage in John 1:47. "Father Ken is 'real.'"

A Marian Milestone
Father Ken's ordination marks a milestone for the Marians. His is the third ordination this year in the Marians' North American province, a province that also includes Argentina. A fourth ordination, that of Deacon Michael Gaitley, MIC, will be held Oct. 16.

"I think the last time we had this many men ordained in one year was more than 50 years ago," said the Very Rev. Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC, provincial superior.

He continued, "We have been getting so many vocations in recent years, and I think this is, first of all, a sign of the springtime of the Church that Pope John Paul II said was coming. Second, I think this has to do with the fact that the Marians promote The Divine Mercy message, and I believe that the Divine Mercy message is the message for the third millennium. And third, I would say that, as a community, we've never wavered; we've stayed true to our mission."

The day following his ordination, Fr. Ken celebrated his first Mass. The homilist was Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, who played a pivotal role in Fr. Ken's decision to join the Marians.

Addressing his homily directly to Fr. Ken, Fr. Kaz said "This is a beautiful moment not only for our Marian community but for the Church."

Father Ken has been assigned to serve at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Kenosha, Wis., beginning Jan. 1.

Please help us educate the Marian priests of tomorrow.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

David Murray - Jul 6, 2015

Local Bishop Peric of Medjugorje "My conviction and my position is not only non constat de supernaturalitate, but likewise, constat de non supernaturalitate of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje"

lenflow - Sep 23, 2010

God Bless you Father Ken! May He forever hold you in the hollow of His hands.

Terrence - Sep 23, 2010

Congradulations father Ken. May Saint Augustine's example continue to guide you as move on to your ministry in Wisconsin.There are sure to be chalanges in a land whose name ends in sin.

The Davy Family - Sep 22, 2010

Dear Fr. Ken, What a blessing it has been getting to know you. We are all one Marian Family!! You will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. We know that the Lord will keep pouring out his abundant blessings on all our beloved priests. Congratulations! We are also glad that you will be somewhat of a neighbor to Fr. Andy.

Regina Maxwell - Sep 22, 2010

Father Ken!! CONGRATULATIONS!! Our Lady delivered you straight from Medjugorje to your ordination day :) I'm so happy for you, and will continue to keep you in my prayers!

Elson Family - Sep 22, 2010

Dear Fr. Ken, Congratulations to your "yes" to God, through Our Lady! Thank you for your priesthood to all of us! We live in Birmingham, AL, and pray daily for all priests. May Our Lady continue to guide every step of your priesthood all the days of your life! To Jesus through Mary.

Sheree Paskert - Sep 22, 2010

Congratulations Fr. Ken! May the joy of your Ordination be always in your heart and may God bless the work of your hands.

Arlene Kay Y. Santos - Sep 22, 2010

Congratulations, Fr. Ken on your ordination. May God continue to bless you, may our Lord Jesus Christ continue to keep you safe, and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide you in the faith.

Froilan - Sep 22, 2010

Thank you Fr. Ken for answering the call to serve. You may not know me but my heart is bursting with joy as I read your story. I live here in Southern California and even here God is blessing us through your priesthood. Thanks again and please continue to live a life of holiness for us. Remember us in your prayers.

Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC - Sep 22, 2010

Congratulations Fr. Ken! You are a priest forever! I am very proud of you and will keep up the prayers for you!

RJ - Sep 22, 2010

Congratulations Father! Pray for me that my faith in The Eucharist will be 100% !!! Please?

Linda Gaitley - Sep 21, 2010

Dear Fr. Ken, How blessed the church is to have you. Thank you for saying YES!

Kathleen Roesch - Sep 21, 2010

May Our Blessed Mother Mary, who led you to serve her Divine Son, Jesus, as a priest, always guide you to be a faithful and holy priest. Thank you for saying "yes" to God's call. Our prayers will be with you always.

Mom and Dad - Sep 21, 2010

Thank you Holy Mother Mary!Much Grace Fr. Ken.

Mom and Dad - Sep 21, 2010

Dear Fr. Ken, We are so joyful and have been so lifted up by your ordination to the Sacred priesthood. The entire family and community has been so blessed! We have been so blessed and are so grateful to God. We Praise the Lord for you, Fr. Ken! What a grace to be the parents of a priest! We Love You!!! God's abundant blessings!

BRIAN GALANG - Sep 21, 2010


Fr. Andy Davy, MIC - Sep 20, 2010

My brother priest, May the Lord pour boat loads of blessings upon you, as you enter into the priestly service "Pro Cristo et Ecclesia!"

Br. Angelo Casimiro, MIC - Sep 20, 2010

Congratulations to the "Rev"! We love you Fr. Ken. You are a priest forever.