Middle school teacher making move to priesthood - Odessa American: Local News

Middle school teacher making move to priesthood

By Ruth Campbell rcampbell@oaoa.com | Posted: Wednesday, July 8, 2020 9:59 am

For about the past five years, Joshua Basse has been thinking about going into the priesthood and now he’s about to take the next steps to fulfill his calling. 

Basse will be attending Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans starting in August. He is a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Odessa and was a seventh and eighth grade science teacher at Crockett Middle School for six years.

He taught at Bryan ISD for a year before returning to Ector County ISD.

“… It just kind of kept snowballing. I got more involved in church. It’s kind of really just picked up,” Basse said.

Growing up in Central Texas, Basse was a member of Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church in Burnet.

He was born and raised a Catholic, Basse said he got more involved in the church as an adult when he moved to Odessa.

A combination of things drew him to the church.

“One of the biggest things in the ACTS community at St. Elizabeth’s. It’s kind of a retreat that you can go on. They have men’s, women’s and teens,” Basse said.

“It’s not so much a retreat, but it’s a big community as well. We do a lot with the church. We have meetings just kind of faith sharing and we kind of help with anything church needs …,” Basse said.

He will be entering Notre Dame Seminary as a pre- theology. Basse will start with the diocese July 31 and has to be in New Orleans Aug. 9.

“The way it kind of works is there’s kind of three different levels. There is college seminary. That’s for students that generally go to seminary either right out of high school or very little college and they’ll go for four years. Then for pre-theology, which is what I’m entering, I already have a college degree and then I’ll go for two years for pre- theology. Then after that, you’ll enter the theology program which is another four years or so. Once you get done with that, you’ll have a pastoral year and then you’ll get ordained a deacon at some point and then you’ll get ordained a priest at the very end. That’s if everything goes smoothly, God willing,” Basse said.

Becoming a priest felt like a calling to him.

“… I could still be a teacher, but I could teach the good works from God and I could teach the gospel and I can also be there for the people in a more involved way than just a teacher would be and I can touch more people’s lives,” he said.

“Of course being a teacher, you touch the lives of children every day but you can do this for adults and for children at church; the aged. You can do so many different ministries and just so many different things. Although I wouldn’t have like a traditional family in a sense because Catholic priests don’t marry; we don’t have families; I still would have a huge family in the church,” Basses said.

Asked if he would miss the students, he said he would to some extent. In the long run, though, he knows he will be able to work with students and families wherever he is placed.

“… Because once, God willing, I do get ordained — that’s kind of what we say because it’s definitely not a sure thing. I’m still discerning my life plan and what God is calling me to do, even through the seminary process. I will be hopefully at a church somewhere, of course any church will have religious education programs, but hopefully I’ll still get to be involved with the students and involved in the formation of their Catholic faith, as well.

Bishop of San Angelo Michael Sis said Basse has been very active at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and will make a fine priest.

“Josh has been very active in his parish of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and in a retreat movement called ACTS. He is on fire for the Lord, and he wants to commit himself completely to the service of God,” Sis stated in an email.

“He has been well respected as a science teacher in Odessa.

Being a teacher is a good preparation for the priesthood, because one of the primary responsibilities of priests is to teach people. A middle school teacher has to have plenty of patience and ability to communicate. If Josh was able to help middle school students comprehend the concepts of science, I believe he will also be able to help people understand the truths of the Christian faith,” Sis added. “Good teachers and good priests help people to learn and grow. Just as the school district needs excellent teachers, our churches need excellent ministers.”

Basse earned a health education degree from Texas A&M University and got two-thirds of the way through a master’s in counseling from University of Texas Permian Basin, but then started going through the process of applying for the seminary.

“Honestly, I think the counseling is going to help a lot as well in the formation process,” he said.

Seminary life will be quite structured with classes, daily mass and ministries.

Basse said his parents live in Coleman; he has a brother, sister-in-law and niece in South Carolina; and extended family in Central Texas.