Peter Lawrence, 28, viewed the Catholic Church as an institution with rules and commandments for most of his upbringing, but a retreat in college opened his mind and his heart to God’s true calling, leading him to pursue the priesthood.
Brian Lenz grew up in St. Martha Parish in Okemos, and credits his parents as those who most influenced his decision to become a priest. He is grateful for his call to the priesthood, and the chance to serve God.
Ryan Riley is an average guy who lived the college “frat boy” life. He tried to separate himself as far as he could from his faith, but only when he embraced God, did he understand his purpose.
The path to the priesthood for Father Mike Murray, 66, has been quite a journey. A widower, Murray has two adult children, 35 and 30. With their blessing, Murray answered God’s call to serve.
What was the process that led you to pursue the priesthood?
I have been a deacon since 2005. Following the death of my wife, I spoke with several priests, prayed about this possibility and then approached the bishop. He was willing to let me begin the process, and so here we are.
Paul Donnelly, 34 and a native of Ypsilanti, lived in Honduras and New York City before returning to his home state to pursue the priesthood. He served as a Franciscan brother for 12 years.
How did you hear God’s call to become a priest?
The change that led me to pursue the priesthood was interior. No one among my acquaintances asked me to consider a priestly vocation. But during high school, I experienced Jesus' lordship and had to admit to myself that something I had actively resisted was becoming desirable.
Pope Francis and a chorus of U.S. bishops condemned the shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12, which killed 49 people and injured more than 50.
The Vatican response
Pope Francis joined bishops and clergy across the U.S. in condemning this attack on innocent civilians, calling the violence an act of “senseless hatred.” A statement from the Vatican read: