NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Cameron Cortens, who served as a deacon at Holy Redeemer Church in North Portland since last July, was one of three Congregation of Holy Cross members ordained to the priesthood April 23 at the University of Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Some 30 Holy Redeemer parishioners traveled to South Bend, Indiana, to attend the ordination, and Father Cortens’ first Mass the day after the ordination. The new priest will return to Holy Redeemer, at least briefly.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders on Fathers Cortens, Drew Clary and Gabriel Biggs.

Father Cortens, 31, was born in Syracuse, New York, the oldest child of Caroline and Andrew Cortens. When Cameron was in kindergarten, his family emigrated from Canada and moved several times in the U.S. before landing in Boise, Idaho. Caroline Cortens is a paralegal and Andrew Cortens is a philosophy professor at Boise State University. Father Cortens has three younger sisters, two of whom live in the Portland area.

Father Cortens graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 2013 and entered formation with the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2015. He received a master of divinity degree from Notre Dame in 2021.

Father Cortens said he began thinking about priesthood when he was 17. As a teenager, a priest had asked him if he considered a priestly vocation, a question that stuck with him. He later attended a Catholic youth convention and felt a clear calling. “I was absolutely overwhelmed by my deep peace and that God could be calling me,” he said.

At a retreat while in high school, the call to ministry became stronger. “The more I shared it with people, the stronger it became in my heart,” he said. Still, he thought the call might be to seek discernment in a seminary, not necessarily to become a priest. “I thought I would spend a couple of years and would come out a better person,” he said.

Father Cortens majored in philosophy and theology at Notre Dame. His father’s love of philosophy and belief that “a pursuit of philosophy is a pursuit of God “ were major influences.

In addition to his pastoral duties at Holy Redeemer, Father Cortens has brought his musical skills as a singer, pianist, guitarist, and accordion player. The evening of his ordination, the new priest joined musician friends in entertaining family and guests at a late-night reception at Notre Dame.