As the battle for the White House intensifies, each of the major political parties will certainly be aiming to win the Catholic vote. With approximately 81.6 million self-identified Catholics (more than 25 percent of the U.S. population), the Catholic demographic is a major prize.
Born in Skopje, Albania, (now Macedonia) on Aug. 26, 1910, Anjezë (Agnes) Gonxhe Bojaxhiu considered her baptismal day, Aug. 27, her true birthday. When she was growing up, Agnes’ mother extended an open invitation to the city's poor to dine with her family, and told her daughter: "My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others." When Agnes asked about the people eating with them, her mother would respond, "Some of them are our relations, but all of them are our people."
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.