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Posted June 30, 2005

The Priesthood Ordination Class of 2005
Some of our Ordinands Respond to the Question:
“People would be surprised to know that I..."

. . . began to consider priesthood and religious life from the standpoint of a successful business career which provided everything I was supposed to have and which I found unfulfilling.

. . . have wanted to be a priest since I was five years old (I am now forty-seven!).

. . . have thought about the priesthood since my Confirmation retreat at 13. . . . have studied and traveled through Europe for a year. . . . have a sister who will graduate law school the day before I get ordained a priest (my only sibling).

. . . that I wanted to be a priest since I was in first grade: nothing else ever came close to it.

. . . always thought I'd get married.

. . . am a meteorologist.

. . . am a musician.

. . . am a product of the RCIA process.

. . . am a seaplane pilot who built his own seaplane (not an ultralight).

. . . am an advanced-expert snow skier living in Florida.

. . . am an introvert.

. . . am becoming a priest at the age of seventy. After my wife, Mary, and I raised three children and she is now deceased, the Archdiocese of Detroit accepted me as a candidate for the priesthood. I have four grandchildren and am very blessed by God and the Archdiocese of Detroit to be able to serve in the priesthood.

. . . am not pursuing my vocation to the priesthood because I feel that it is what I have to do; rather, I am pursuing my vocation to the priesthood but because I have come to a point in my relationship to Jesus Christ where I desire nothing more than to serve.

. . . am not that academically talented.

. . . am one of two men from my high school graduating class of 14 to be ordained to the priesthood in 2005.

. . . attended the United States Naval Academy.

. . . avoided this calling to the priesthood for several years. But God never backed down.

. . . became a registered sleep tech (RPSGT) during the summers off from seminary, without any previous clinical experience. (I was able to read about 5000 pages that first summer while being paid to watch people sleep!)

. . . came back to the seminary to continue with the priesthood after ten successful years of business.

. . . did not really think about priesthood until college.

. . . directed, initiated Special Educations programs for Deaf/Blind and other Multi-Handicapped programs.

. . . enjoy bringing ministry out on to the athletic fields, I serve as a chaplain for a Div I Baseball team, and it is in this ministry that I feel so much enjoyment and see the work of God so visible.

. . . enjoy downhill skiing.

. . . found my vocation in the company of a happy priest.

. . . had a personal Mass with Pope John Paul II.

. . . had an initial desire to become a medical doctor, but it was obvious that the Lord had other plans for me in my life. Many in fact thought that I would become a doctor, but some of my friends that knew me in High School whom I have lost contact with might pleasantly surprised in my vocation to the priesthood.

. . . had hoped to teach in American schools in Europe.

. . . had several international work assignments as a computer programmer including Montreal, Canada and Caracas, Venezuela. I once caught a shark while fishing off the coast of Florida.

. . . had to go to the desert to discern God's will for my life.

. . . had very little support or direction in my decision to enter the seminary.

. . . have a twin brother and am the second youngest of fifteen children and the love and example of my parents and siblings inspired me to join the seminary.

. . . have been surfing for 25 years.

. . . have broken the same wrist twice and got a concussion, all while playing hockey (but not all at the same time).

. . . have doubts about my faith.

. . . have my pilot's license.

. . . have never been happier in my life pursuing the priesthood. I believe that if people understood the joy that exists in a priestly or religious vocation, more young people would be willing to explore the possibilities.

. . . have traveled to 47 countries.

. . . have written nine books.

. . . heard the call to the priesthood through the television and from a phone call. The first one was from the Holy Father and his trip to St. Louis in 1999 and the other was a phone call from my Archbishop in Oklahoma City when I was still in college.

. . . am a jazz-pianist (a.k.a., a lounge-lizard).

. . . am interested in astronomy and other sciences. I have no difficulty balancing science and religion.

. . . had a terrible stuttering problem as a youth.

. . . wanted to be a priest since I was about 6 years old...and it’s been a wild journey.

. . . was a law student for two years.

. . . was asked by my parish priest if I had every thought about being a priest. I remember laughing at the thought and said that will never happen. I forgot about the whole incident and it wasn't until three years later that I remembered what I had said.

. . . was not influenced by advertising techniques. That is, the techniques used to sell toothpaste. For me the path involved spiritual growth and development which involved the regular reception of the sacraments of the Eucharist (daily) and penance (monthly).

. . . in my first freshman start as a linebacker in college, I finished the game with 19 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 interception. I was a 4 year 1st team starter in College as a linebacker. Also, I played in an all-star football game in Australia after high school.

. . . increased my love for the Church and priesthood most through dialogue with non-Roman Catholic people (ex. defending my faith).

. . . know Sign Language and drew a weekly cartoon strip for a newspaper in Florida.

. . . left a financially rewarding career to become a Roman Catholic priest.

. . . love snow and cold weather after having been born and raised in San Antonio, TX, much to the consternation of my fellow Minnesotans. Ice and snow, Bless the Lord!

. . . met and worked with Mother Teresa.

. . . met Pope John Paul II and he without knowing me confirmed my vocation to my diocese.

. . . never even thought of becoming a priest until I was 25.

. . . once did volunteer search and rescue training using dogs.

. . . owned and ran a business that provided relief pharmacy staffing. In many peoples eyes I was materially very successful. I could take weeks or a month off at a time to recreate by taking fishing, hunting, and ski trips to exotic places. I had a home on the beach in California, as well as one by the City Lakes in Minneapolis. I had a good portfolio of investments in the stock and real-estate market. However, my life was very empty because the focus of my happiness and success was on myself. I have given this up to follow Christ and have never been happier or more peace filled.

. . . am a Turin Shroud enthusiast and somewhat of an expert.

. . . still have some fears entering into priestly ministry. There is of course a confidence going into ordinations and a total trust in God that His grace will sustain me; but, at the same time, there is a trepidation in the transition I will experience in the near future.

. . . play bluegrass guitar, banjo, and fiddle.

. . . practiced law for eight years before entering the seminary to follow God's call to become a priest.

. . . received the confirmation of my vocation in Europe during the World Youth Day in Paris. I have been working so actively at the Parish, and yet I was afraid of making the decision to enter the seminary. But, through prayer and meditation, I asked God to let me know what I should do, whether to go for medicine, which was my major as a pre-med student, or to go for His Priesthood. Thanks to His kindness and merciful love, he gave me that sign.

. . . remodeled my own home from electronic to plumbing, myself.

. . . served two years as a State Officer, the parliamentarian for Business Professionals of America Iowa Association. One year on the secondary level and one year on the post-secondary level.

. . . sold vacuum cleaners.

. . . spent 6 months with the Trappists.

. . . trained for and ran a marathon each year I was in the seminary (until diaconate ordination).

. . . turned down promotion to Major and a teaching position at the USAF Academy (Middle East History) and am a Middle East Studies graduate from Naval Postgraduate School. I am also co-sponsored for return to the USAF as a chaplain in 2008.

. . . used to be a Mormon.

. . . used to work for the National Hockey League.

. . . wanted to be a military physician until a priest asked me if I had considered priesthood.

. . . was a Civil War reenactor for several years.

. . . was a Lutheran pastor for six years.

. . . was a movie extra in the movie TAPS back in 1981 when I was 15 years old.

. . . was a nationally certified athletic trainer.

. . . was a promoter for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

. . . was a sheet metal/construction worker before I had entered the seminary; I was never an altar boy; I have a black belt in martial arts (karate); I had a "conversion" experience when I was 26 years old while attending a Life in the Spirit Seminar.

. . . was a tailor, and that supplied money for most of my expenses in my secular college years.

. . . was a truck driver.

. . . was a university professor before I entered the seminary.

. . . was an aquatic instructor and swimming and water polo coach since I was 13 years old.

. . . was in charge of the Government's Counterterrorism Training Program for analysts.

. . . was on track to have a career in classical music.

. . . was the drummer in an Irish-rock band before entering the community.

. . . Worked as a dean in non-Catholic colleges and universities.

. . . worked for nine years in a Federal prison.

. . . worked for the "Happiest Place on Earth"...Disneyland.

. . . worked full-time on a dairy farm in Denmark for 6-1/2 months.