Originally from Philadelphia, Gordon moved with his family to Nevada when he was 11. He returned to Pennsylvania to attend St. Joseph’s University, where he discerned a vocation to the priesthood, partly as a result of John Paul II’s first visit to the United States in 1979.
“I had the opportunity to hear him and visit some of the sites at which he spoke. I think that really helped to cement at least a desire to be open to seminary and the priestly calling,” Gordon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
He added that his discernment to enter seminary was also based on “the parish priests that I had worked with and served with and who I admired.”
Within a year of the papal visit, Gordon enrolled at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. He was sent to study in Rome at the Pontifical North American College, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and later a licentiate from the Pontifical Lateran University.
Upon his return from Rome, Gordon was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Las Vegas on Jan. 16, 1988.
Following assignments as a parochial vicar and associate pastor in the Las Vegas diocese, Gordon served as pastor of St. Christopher parish in North Las Vegas from 1995 to 2003 and then as the founding pastor of St. Francis Assisi parish in Henderson from 2004 to 2007.