Monday, January 27, 2020 - Updated: 1:24 pm

Father Mike Ackerman, vocations director

1. How did God call you to the priesthood?

I was a high school history teacher struggling with the question: “How does God want me to follow him?” I could see myself as a high school teacher with a family or as a priest. The more I prayed about it, the more I found myself going to Mass and the sacraments. At a St. Paul Seminary discernment retreat, God confirmed that he was calling me to the priesthood.

2. What is the most meaningful aspect of your ministry?

I love saying Mass and hearing confessions. But what really inspires me is giving people an encounter with Jesus, whether through Mass, the sacraments, talks or one-on-one conversations.

3. What is the most challenging part of your ministry?

It’s challenging to engage an increasingly secular culture. We’re in an age where there are so many noises and distractions that it is becoming increasingly difficult to encounter Christ through silence. Through my work as vocations director, I have realized that people often think that God is not enough to fulfill them. If people realized that God is enough, there would be no crisis of faith or priest shortage.

4. What do you wish people knew about the priesthood?

It’s an incredibly fulfilling, rich life. It’s never dull. There is always something new and exciting that God is calling us to. The priesthood is made up of ordinary, normal men. God calls us as we are and uses the gifts he has given us. Like any vocation, the priesthood is hard, but there’s a joy to it.

5. What do you like to do in your free time?

I golf, play piano, bowl and am an avid Pens fan. I also enjoy reading biographies and historical books, particularly about European history and the U.S. Civil War.

This is the first installment in a new series, “Take 5 with Father,” spotlighting priests in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. To learn more about priestly vocations, call 412-456-3123 or go to pghpriest.com.

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