This is an excerpt from the full interview on The Life of a Priest, a podcast available in the Tabella Catholic App.
Father Adam Marchese is a priest at St. Margaret Mary in Winter Park, Florida. He is also a military chaplain. Below is the transcript of this segment:
It’s really been since ordination, just part of me feels like this is still all new. Part of me feels as if I’ve been doing this my entire life, and it just feels natural just the part of who I am. Because this is who the Lord has called me to be. In Romans, we hear that those he predestines he calls. As he calls he justifies, and those he justifies he glorifies. The Lord has called us all to his beautiful vocation. First the holiness, but then in a particular way, whether it be to priesthood or to married life.
But kind of growing up priesthood was never on my mind. I know some priests who knew they wanted to be priest from the time they were like five. I did not feel called until much later in life, I say much later. Then again, I’ve had classmates who were in their fifties when they were ordained. So not that late in life, but still later than some others.
I’m Irish and Italian, so very much I would say very Catholic upbringing in terms of “that’s what we did.” Because culturally, both the Irish and Italian side were Catholic. I will say it was very nominally Catholic. So I was baptized as a baby, you know, came up in the sacraments. My dad always jokes that he would have to bribe me to get to mass when I was a kid, and he would say like, “all right, we’ll grab McDonald’s for breakfast If you come and we go to mass.” But you know, as a small child, mass wasn’t interesting to me!
I remember when I was being interviewed, leading into ordination. Communications department from the diocese was like, “so tell us about how you were an altar server” and “tell us about how you went to Catholic school” and “tell us about how you did all these Catholic things.” Then I said, “I was never an altar server, I didn’t go to Catholic school, I went to public school”. Seminary was my first Catholic school. I wasn’t involved in high school youth group, I never did life teen or anything like that. I wish I could say that was my upbringing. I wish I could say that was a huge aspect of my life. But If I’m being honest, that wasn’t. It’s not to say that I was not raised in a loving household or anything like that.
I’m a lower middle-class family, two income family. Parents had enough to provide for us, but definitely not anything extravagant by any means the word. But if there’s anything I remember from childhood and those fond memories that I have, are those times of coming together as a family. That was always something that was a very big priority for us, and not just around the holidays.
I mean, my parents’ house was always the central point where the family would gather together for holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, things like that, but just birthdays and other stuff as well. We’d have 20, 30 people over at the house. So those were always special moments.
It definitely influenced my understanding of the faith and how I approach the faith in my parish. As a parish priest, I’m called as a secular priest to be there among the people with the families. So I have a deep love and respect for the family, and I desire my parish to be the place where the family is nourished. Where their family can come together as centered upon the faith, and it’s so important.
And when we try to isolate it and say, “no this is faith”, “that’s your family”. It’s a dichotomy that shouldn’t exist.
Listen to the entire interview with Father Adam Marchese on the Tabella Catholic App.
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