David Keegan will serve as parochial vicar of Ponte Vedra Beach’s Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish following his ordination to the priesthood this past weekend.
Bishope Felipe J. Estévez of the Diocese of St. Augustine ordained Keegan and Deacon Philip Timlin to the priesthood May 14 in a mass celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Augustine. Keegan, 40, is a Louisiana native who earned a degree in psychology from the University of Montevallo in Alabama.
While he originally planned to marry shortly after graduating from college, he and his fiancée called off their wedding plans and Keegan accepted a full-time job managing a restaurant in Birmingham. A year later, his sister was diagnosed with cancer. When she died in 2000, Keegan was at her bedside.
“I can see now how the Holy Spirit was preparing me for a vocation,” Keegan said of that difficult time in his life.
In 2002, Keegan moved to Jacksonville to be closer to his family, who had moved to the city. He had been working in restaurant management for eight years and dating, but felt something was missing. In 2006, a priest at St. Joseph Parish in Jacksonville invited him to a Christ Renews his Parish retreat and he said it was from there his faith life really took off.
“I was in a relationship and discerning marriage, but as I grew deeper in the faith the thought of the priesthood returned,” he said. “All those memories and desires came back and it was clear as could be. It was the deepest, realest call. It was what I had to do.”
Keegan entered Miami’s St. John Vianney College Seminary in 2009. Following his graduation two years later, he entered St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach to complete his formation and training.
“It’s been an amazing, incredible journey,” Keegan said. “I am constantly surprised by the love I receive from the people of the diocese – how open and generous they are. It’s amazing.”
Photo courtesy of Diocese of St. Augustine