Friday, September 4, 2009


There is a guest blogger again today. Fr Pfeiffer has graciously offered his vocation story. Part II will follow next Friday. Enjoy!

Fr. V. has asked me to write a vocation story blog telling of my journey to priesthood. Well, it all started at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in downtown Cleveland. I say it started there because it is under the vaulted ceiling of our Diocesan mother church where I was baptized. My parents were “between parishes” at the time so my uncle, Fr. Bob Pfeiffer (more on him in a bit), said bring him down to the Cathedral. So in April of 1979 I was washed clean of original sin and began my participation in the Mystical Body of Christ, His Church. Little did any of us know that thirty years later I would be in the same cathedral pressing my nose to the marble and having the bishop’s hands lain on my head allowing me to participate in the eternal Priesthood of Jesus Christ, Head and Shepherd.

My family moved a few times while I was younger, but wherever we were Sunday Mass was a priority and prayer at home was important. We were not praying daily rosaries, but staples of prayer were at meals, Christmas and Easter traditions of prayer and song (at four years old I even wrote and directed a nativity play that the family enacted), and special prayers at family reunions, etc. In fifth grade I started serving at our local parish (in a small town in PA) . This continued through junior high while we lived in Toledo, OH. I think it was at this time I remember my uncle, Fr. Bob, dropping hints about my becoming a priest. I actually ignored much of this. We made our last move just before my freshman year of high school when we came to Stow, OH. We had returned home in a sense to the Cleveland Diocese and close to where my father grew up in Cuyahoga Falls. I even went to my father’s alma mater, Archbishop Hoban High School (even though Fr. Bob went to St. Vincent High School).

It was during these four years that Fr. Bob continued to drop hints - not often but once in a while - about my entering the seminary. But of course toward the end of high school, I had my own plans. I wanted to be an architect, so I was accepted into Kent State University’s Architecture School and continued there for two years. While there, one of my best friends from Hoban entered the seminary (now Fr. Jared Orndorff) as well as another friend I knew from Hoban (now Fr. Mike McCandless). I was happy for them but still did not consider myself as one to wear a roman collar.

After two years I decided to switch majors to Aerospace technology and become a pilot. Architecture was not working out for me as I had hoped, and I felt drawn to military service. I enrolled in the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate Program. This involved summer training at Officer Candidate School (OCS) and completion of my degree thereupon granting me a commission as an officer and a place in flight school. I went to OCS and gained valuable leadership training (as well as getting in great shape) and returned to finish school, but now something was really nagging me. I did not know what it was, but I felt I needed to take time off school and reconsider my “life’s plan.” Dropping out of full-time school meant leaving the officer program as well.


Father Schnippel said...

My own vocation story also invovlved guys I knew heading off to the seminary, and my thinking, 'If they can do it....'

Anonymous said...

As the Apostles were told to gather up the fragments after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, so too, none of the fragments of your life before the priesthood will be lost. A secular major in college (architecture), time in the military, leadership training, even ignoring "the call" for awhile will all serve our Lord and those to whom you are sent. Baptism and ordination in the same Cathedral: priceless!

Mikki said...

Oh man, I hate cliffhangers. What a tease.