When Father J. Collin Poston arrived at St. Mary’s in Hagerstown a year ago as administrator, he was struck by the parish’s deep spirituality.
“I was very impressed with the faith of the parishioners and their love for tradition, the Eucharist and the celebration of the Mass,” he said.
Father Poston will have the opportunity to relish those feelings further, as he was elevated to pastor by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien earlier this month.
Father Poston, a 40-year-old native of Frederick County’s Lewistown, was raised in the United Methodist Church. He converted to Catholicism during his 20s because he was fascinated with the beauty of the Mass. He called Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist “absolutely amazing.”
He was drawn to the role of Mary, whom he said is deeply revered in the parish. He also found inspiration in the saints.
“We, in our day and age, are looking for role models and heroes,” Father Poston said. “That’s who they are for us. They show us the way to be Christian and Catholic.”
Ordained in 2003, Father Poston was first assigned as an associate pastor to St. Joseph in Cockeysville. After three years, he was assigned in the same capacity to Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City. He was briefly a temporary administrator for St. Paul’s in Ellicott City in 2008.
His promotion to pastor is a humbling one.
“It’s a big surprise,” Father Poston said. “I’m happy and excited to have the opportunity and challenge.”
St. Mary’s has a parish elementary school with 247 students. Father Poston said the connection between parish and school is strong and hopes both can be a light in Hagerstown.
“If you can provide for people a welcoming church that offers the Catholic truth, preaches and teaches the faith, people will come,” Father Poston said. “That’s how a church makes its presence felt in the community.”