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June 11, 2017

Ordination 2017: Meet our new priests

‘I look forward to being present in the lives of people’

Name: Michael Bower
Home parish: St. Alphonsus Liguori, Zionsville

Michael BowerWhat have been the highlights of your year in the diaconate?

For me, the highlight of my year in the diaconate has been the opportunity to preach at Mass. Preaching the Gospel has been an intimidating task, but a beautiful one. It is a really powerful opportunity to share what inspires me about the faith.

Has the experience affirmed your call to the priesthood?

Being a deacon has greatly affirmed my call to the priesthood, because it has given me so many opportunities to act in priestly roles. I have been able to baptize, give funerals, and to witness marriages. Furthermore, on a daily basis, now I have been wearing clerical attire, which is a powerful witness to the secular world of a man committed to the cause of Christ.

Have any of your views on priestly life changed?

One of the things that I have learned about priestly life is that it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities, which prevent you sometimes from seeing the bigger picture. There was a priest in my college seminary that said that priesthood is not a sprint race, but a marathon. It is about steady success, as opposed to sudden bursts of effort.

It is easy for a priest to get worn out by focusing on the challenges of priesthood. The important thing is being faithful in the little things of daily priestly life.

Were you surprised by anything over the past year?

The most surprising thing to me over the past year was the responsibility taken on by being a deacon. I remember that during my first baptism, I was really nervous. I was nervous, because I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. I imagined that the preaching would be harder, but for me, it was the sacramental tasks of things like baptisms that made me the most nervous.

What do you hope to offer to parishioners as a new priest?

As a new priest, I hope to offer parishioners a fresh look on the Christ, the Church and the priesthood. Knowing that I grew up in a typical family and a public school, I think I share the same perspective as many of the people in the pew. So, I hope that I can share what inspires me about the priesthood in a way that resonates with them as well.

Can you share some reflections on your journey?

My journey to the priesthood has been a beautiful one. I have been inspired, I have been challenged, and I have just flat out had many different experiences. I have traveled Europe, I have been a hospital chaplain, a camp counselor, and I have so many different experiences of Catholic life. I feel blessed to have encountered so many different people. I am eager to see where this journey continues to lead me.

What do you most look forward to as ordination nears?

As ordination nears, I look forward the most to being present in the lives of people. One of the difficult things about seminary is that you are away from the diocese and you do not live in a community of families. One of the great blessings of priesthood is the opportunity to enter into and help grow a strong Catholic community. I learn so much from spending time with people and learning about their daily experience of life and of Catholicism.

What did you find most meaningful or helpful or inspirational during your last year in the seminary?

During my last year of seminary, what I found most meaningful was the fact that I was ordained. Every man wrestles with his vocation. Even in seminary, there is always the question of whether or not God is still calling you to the priesthood.

After being ordained a deacon, that question evaporated. I have already made the promises for ordination and I have already been consecrated for ministry. So, those questions are no longer distracting me from truly entering into the priestly lifestyle.

It is like a man who marries and becomes a dad for the first time. His life is totally different after that. He has a family to take care of now. His life is no longer his own. That is what being ordained has felt like. It has added purpose and intentionality to my life.

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