A commitment to service

First slide

Deacon Luke Dundon comes from a naval family. He was born at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland in 1981 the son of a naval officer, David, and Colleen, and the oldest of four children. He was baptized at St. Timothy Church in Chantilly.

The family moved to Spain in 1985, returning to the Washington, D.C., area in 1988, where they've remained.

Deacon Dundon attended St. Timothy School, where he served as an altar boy and graduated from Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington in 1999. It was at O'Connell that he said he fell in love with God. He began visiting the school chapel and attending frequent eucharistic adoration and weekly confession.

It was a teacher at O'Connell, Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Charles Borromeo, that inspired him with her vocation.

After graduating from O'Connell in 1999, and wanting to continue his family's commitment to military service, he enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

"I had a desire to serve," he said. "Service meant a lot to me."

At the academy, he met Jesuit Father Robert Keane, a Navy chaplain who served as a role model and mentor. It was a relationship that endures to this day.

In 2003, he was awarded a bachelor's in physics and was commissioned as a naval officer. He was assigned to begin submarine service in 2005, but in the interim he was stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, doing research in physics and astronomy and earning a master's in astronomy from the University of Hawaii.

As he was about to begin submarine service in 2005, he was notified that he would be released from active duty submarine service because of a medical condition.

The news was a shock, but Dundon had been considering a vocation to the priesthood and he felt this was God's calling. He felt drawn to it in prayer.

"It was confirmed in my years in seminary," he said. "And most of all, I have found it to be the way I am called to become a saint."

He began to investigate the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps because of the shortage of priests in the military.

He entered Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., sponsored by the Arlington Diocese and the Archdiocese for the Military Services. In 2007, Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde asked him to continue his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

When he is ordained at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington on June 11, he will be vested by his mentor from the Naval Academy, Father Keane.

On June 12, Pentecost Sunday, the end of Easter, Father Dundon will celebrate his first Mass at his home parish of St. Timothy.

"(It's the) evidence of the culmination of a gift," he said.

Father Keane will be the homilist at the Mass.

He hopes to work in the diocese as a parish priest for three years and then, with the permission of Bishop Loverde, offer his service as a U.S. Navy chaplain.

He said he looks forward to his life as a priest "with eagerness and zeal."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2011