Twice before, Baikauskas, who turned 50 this March, had considered the priesthood. The first time he was in eighth grade. He had made a pact with a friend. Though back then a boy entering high school could choose to leave home and devote his life to God, Baikauskas’s family quickly put an end to that possibility. The thought wouldn’t enter his mind again until 1989, a year after Baikauskas, a recovering alcoholic, stopped drinking. He planned to give the Dominican friar every opportunity to turn him away. At their breakfast, he laid it all out: “I’m 47 years old. I’m divorced. I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’m gay!” Baikauskas laughs as he gives each statement greater emphasis. “And you still want to talk to me?”
“Well, of course,” the friar said.
Within a year, Baikauskas would be accepted into the Dominican Order of Preachers at St. Dominic Priory on the campus of St. Louis University. This past August he started his first semester at the Aquinas Institute of Theology. He hopes to be ordained in 2007.