Ordination Class of 2024: Deacon David Joanis

This is the first in a series of articles profiling the 11 men who will be ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Boston at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on May 25, 2024.

BRIGHTON -- Deacon David Joanis, a seminarian at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, enjoys playing "the nerdiest board games you can think of."

One of his favorites is Dominion, a medieval-themed strategic card game. Dominion is also a hit with his fellow seminarians, who "pitched in" to purchase 17 different expansion packs for the game.

"It's just something that brings everybody together," Deacon Joanis, 32, told The Pilot in a Feb. 22 interview. "The ability to come together to share an experience, to have that experience of fraternity without taking up too much of your day, I think, is the draw."

To Deacon Joanis, the game is one of many examples of camaraderie among the seminarians.

"It's sort of a natural community that is very close to one another," he said. "And so, I found it very easy to be a part of the house here."

He also plays fantasy-themed games like Gloomhaven and Dungeons and Dragons. He ran a D and D group at Our Lady of Providence Seminary and plans to start a D and D group with his fellow priests once he is ordained. Due to the game's emphasis on magic, some Christian groups have condemned it. Deacon Joanis believes these critiques are "overrated."

"Magic systems in fiction are just an expression of the unknown," he said. "So there's definitely a wrong way to play D and D, where you can sort of get yourself into trouble by roleplaying an evil character. But as far as the themes that are addressed there and what you're doing, I don't find anything objectionable."

Deacon Joanis was born in Wrentham and raised in "a traditional Catholic home" in Franklin. One day at Mass, a religious sister in his parish asked him, his parents, and his three siblings to pray three Hail Marys together every night "to come to know our personal vocations."

"It was from that moment when I was like four or five," he recalled, "when it really started to be an inkling of a call."

He was educated in public school before attending high school at Trivium School, a Catholic school in Lancaster. There, he learned more about his faith and felt a strengthened devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

"For me, it's simply that relationship with God," he said. "That was the source of it all, especially in the Blessed Sacrament. Just face to face. I felt like that's what God wanted of me, and it's been peace and joy, always following."

He graduated from Trivium School in 2016 and then attended Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Providence. From there, he entered St. John's Seminary in 2020.

Deacon Joanis said that St. John's creates "much more of a strong link between the altar and the classroom" than his previous seminary.

"The same man that's giving you Mass in the morning is hearing your confession," he said, "is the one that's teaching you how to say Mass and hear confessions later on in the day."

In 2023, Deacon Joanis was ordained a transitional deacon. He currently serves at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Parish in Waltham.

Once he is ordained a priest, he has one goal: "Bring souls to God."

"I don't need much more than that," he said.