I grew up in the country six miles north of Attica, Ohio, in a rural farm setting where my parents still live. My dad worked for the railroad and my mom stayed at home to take care of us children. Her doing so was a great gift to us even though it meant less family income. After we were older, mom worked at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine, which was just a few miles from our home. However, the memories of being with my mom in my younger years are priceless.
I was one of three boys. We were very close and did most things together, including going to church. We worked hard six days a week and enjoyed Sunday as a day of rest from the normal day-to-day schedule. My older brother still farms today (I enjoy helping him when I can) and my younger brother died many years ago at the age of 28 from a brain tumor.
I graduated from the Seneca East school system and attended Heidelberg College in Tiffin for my first few years of college. I transferred to Ohio University in Athens to complete my chemical engineering coursework. From there I went to work for four years in a chemical plant on the Ohio River. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my work, I realized during that time that God was calling me to be a priest.
Prayer has always been an integral part of my life. However, now prayer was really needed because God was inviting me to a path of life different from what I had planned. In addition to giving up my career, I needed to set aside my plans for marriage and children. In the end, the decision wasn’t too difficult because I trusted God and desired to love God as God loved me. No sacrifice on earth is too great compared to eternity in heaven.
So I quit my job in August 2000 and began studying for the priesthood with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and then later joined the Diocese of Toledo. I spent the next six years in the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus completing my studies in philosophy and theology. Those were blessed years for which I’m very grateful. There was much hard work and studying but how else do we expect to grow and mature into becoming the people God created us to be? Is there anything else on earth more important?
I was ordained a priest on May 31, 2008, together with Fr. Eric Culler. His home parish is Resurrection Parish here in Lexington. We are very good friends, each happily serving in God’s Church in different places. My years of priesthood, like the seminary, have been filled with much hard work but also with even more blessings. I’m very happy to be here in Mansfield. I’ve greatly enjoyed meeting parishioners at all three parishes, and I am looking forward to our time together in the years to come!