By Richard Meek

The Catholic Commentator 

Father Tim Grimes’ mission is clearly defined as he embarks on his priestly ministry.  

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Bishop Michael G. Duca anoints Father Tim Grimes’ hands with chrism oil during his ordination to the priesthood. Photos by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator 


Quite simply, he wants to be guided by the words of Pope Francis, who recently said a priest “should smell like the sheep.”  

For Father Grimes, who was ordained May 25 along with Father John Vu at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, the meaning is obvious.  

“I want to be someone that is always willing to be available to the people,” said Father Grimes, a Baton Rouge native and graduate of University High. “Someone willing to enter into people’s lives. Hopefully the parish I go to (his first assignment is parochial vicar at St. Joseph the Worker in Pierre Part) people will feel like ‘he is one of us.’ ”  

“I’m among them, just like a shepherd is with his sheep,” he added. “So I really take a lot of guidance of Pope Francis’ words.”  

Father Grimes’ calling came at an age when many of his peers were fretting about a date to the homecoming dance. During his junior year in high school, he had attended the annual Abbey Youth Festival in St. Benedict and said it was during that weekend he first began thinking about the priesthood. 

After the weekend, he spoke with a couple of priests who encouraged him and advised him to “stay close to the Lord and our lady in prayer.”  

Father Grimes, 28, said his parents and many of his friends were supportive. In fact, some of his friends even said they had seen (him being a priest) in him, which was helpful.  

Before entering St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, however, he elected to spend two years in college. So he attended LSU, first majoring in business before switching to philosophy. 

“I felt the call in my heart but I felt I wanted an out of seminary experience before entering the seminary,” he said. “I have always grown up a big LSU fan so I wanted some of that experience.”  

After spending two years at LSU, he admitted to a bit of an adjustment living in the quiet solitude of St. Joseph, where seminarians attend daily Mass, pray morning and evening prayers together and in their own solitude are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Coming from a musical family, Father Grimes was in the choir during his seminary days. 

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Bishop Duca prays the prayer of ordination over Father Tim Grimes.


His summer seminarian assignments included St. Margaret Queen of Scotland, Albany, the cluster parishes of St. Elizabeth in Paincourtville and St. Jules in Belle Rose and the cluster parishes of St. James in St. James and St. Phillip and Our Lady of Peace in Vacherie.  

He also just finished up an assignment at Ascension of Our Lord in Donaldsonville.  

“The assignments helped me to know what the flow of parish life is like,” Father Grimes said. “That is one of the big adjustments. In seminary, the schedule is very structured but once you get into the parish, things can be hectic.”  

During each assignment he was able to shadow each priest as he went about his daily schedule, whether it was administrative, hearing confession or celebrating a funeral. Father Grimes said those experiences slightly altered his perception about his idea of priestly life.  

“I’ve gotten more of an appreciation for what a priest is called to do,” he said. “More of an understanding, there is so much more a priest does than just the sacraments and the Mass. The sacraments are important but there are a lot of things that are just as essential to the people’s lives as well.”  

He said he also has a better understanding of how much of a public person he will be, realizing he is “not so much a private individual anymore. I always want to be aware of what I post online.”  

Father Grimes said he is now entering what he called the “ministry of presence.” He admitted to not being the life of the party but he hopes to “put myself out there and be present at different events with different people.”  

“I want to be a priest among the people; that’s the best way I can put it,” he said.

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Father Tim Grimes blesses people coming to him at the reception following his ordination to the priesthood.