When the PAW initially informed Providence Academy’s beloved chaplain, Father McClellan, that he would be featured in an article, his initial reaction was, “Why? I’m too boring to write about.” However, with his daily tasks ranging from Student Support Team meetings to hearing confessions,  Father’s life never fails to be interesting.

Father starts his day at 6AM and arrives at school by 7 for morning Mass. Then, he stops by Madame Heitzmann’s room for prayer and announcements.

“Red period French has become my adopted classroom for seven years now. I’m so glad that this year it is Advanced French. There is something special about the students in Advanced French; they are so much fun,” Father expressed.  

Father McClellan and Madame Heitzmann visit before Red Period French. PAW Photo Credit: Erin Brown.

According to the students in Advanced French, the class would not be the same without Father’s daily visits.

“He always checks in and makes sure that we’re okay…He’s got such a humorous presence that makes an early morning class more alive, and we all love him,” explains Advanced French student Ronan Donohue, ‘24. 

Each day Father’s tasks after French class differ. “My days are always scheduled with something different,” he explains. 

However, he always gets the opportunity to teach Lower School students on Mondays. “When he comes in, he answers almost any question which helps us learn more about our faith,” reflects Alexandra Ellison, ‘32. “He tells us really fun stories and we get to learn a lot,” adds Thomas Hunter, ‘32. 

Father McClellan reads to Mrs. Millerbernd’s enthusiastic 1st graders! PAW Photo Credit: Erin Brown

Despite his busy schedule, Father never fails to make time to eat lunch with students. “I eat with a different grade level every day,” he explains, “but I make sure to go to lunch with the seniors every Wednesday.”

“My lunch table calls ourselves ‘McClellan’s Mob’,” chuckles senior Miles Mueller, ‘24. “It’s really easy to talk to him when he eats with us because he’s so personable.” 

“Our conversations aren’t always faith centered,” adds Anthony Fahlander, ‘24, who also sits at Mueller’s lunch table. “We can always ask him about our faith life, but he’s also just really fun to talk to about anything, whether it’s sports or personal.” 

William Schnobrich, ’28, shares a laugh with Father at lunch. PAW Photo Credit: Erin Brown

After lunch, Father prepares for student Mass. Altar server Aidan Flynn, ‘24, explains that when preparing for Mass, Father is, “the opposite of high strung. Even during Mass; we tend to mess up, but Father McClellan is very go with the flow, and it makes altar serving a lot of fun.” 

Father’s tasks following the school day also tend to differ from day to day, with Stations of the Cross on Fridays in Lent and after-school Mass every Wednesday. However, despite his busy schedule, interacting with students is always the highlight of Father’s day.

“Each and every one of you guys brings so much light to what I do,” he expresses. 

It’s clear that the students love visiting with Father just as much.

“Father McClellan always goes out of his way to make conversation, and it can really brighten up your day. He’s such a great member of the PA community, and I am so glad that he is our priest,” explained Erin Brown, ‘24.