My vocation stemmed from a deep love for the military and a deep love for the priesthood. While on military training exercises I saw a strong need for priests in the Army, I also noticed my own talents and the deep desires I had to serve both groups. These factors met at my vocation where I saw that my gifts and my desires could be used and fulfilled by serving as a priest of Jesus Christ.
Deacon Mike Metz, a graduate of Pinecrest Academy, has his eyes on June 16, 2018, the date he will be ordained a Catholic priest. He graduated from Pinecrest in 2008, attended Christian Brothers University from 2008-2012. He graduated and was commissioned a 2nd LT in the Army, entering the seminary in 2012. Deacon Mike took time from his final year of preparation to answer a few questions about his life and vocation.
When and how did you hear the call to the priesthood?
The first time I heard the call to the priesthood was on a discernment retreat in Cheshire with the Legionaries. I felt the call to enter as a military chaplain and a Legionary. I didn’t join the Legionaries, but will be ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Archdiocese for Military Services, US.
Who were the priests who were role models for you?
I was graced with many priests as models when I was growing up. All of the chaplains that I had at Pinecrest Academy, my alma mater, were great examples of how a priest should live. Fr. Todd Belardi, a priest of Milwaukee was a huge influence in my life. He is very talented and it was powerful to see a guy like him serving as a priest for Jesus Christ. I think it revealed the dignity and beauty of the vocation for me in a special way.
What was your family like while you were growing up?
I was born in San Diego California because my father was flying jets for the Navy. When he left the service, we moved to GA where I grew up. I am number two of eleven children. We are eight boys and three girls in total. I loved growing up in my house, it wasn’t perfect but there was always fun to be had. It was a very loving home and I couldn’t think of a better family to be blessed with.
What were the greatest lessons you learned from your parents?
My parents taught me about family. They gave their lives to the vocation of marriage and continue to do so every day. As a result, I grew up witnessing the beauty of family, life and love as God intended it.
Are there teachers who have a significant impact on you?
Mr. Neil Nelson had an impact on me. His perseverance with me in class and out was powerful for me. Even when I behaved poorly, Mr. Nelson always kept his heart in the game and he eventually won. The power of perseverance!
How did Pinecrest foster your vocation?
Pinecrest created a culture that normalized the priesthood and made it attractive. Living as a good Christian and a good Catholic was the ideal, we didn’t always live it but we knew that we were supposed to. Pinecrest gave us a faith to strive for and provided the sacraments to help us reach it.
What would you be if you were not going to be a priest?
If not a priest, I would be an Infantry Officer in the Army.
What is the greatest service you believe you will provide as a military chaplain?
To be a father for young soldiers that don’t have one or are coming from difficult family situations.
Any concern about dealing with “political correctness” in the military?
No. I am constitutionally protected to provide the Catholics in the Military with their religious needs. I haven’t had any issues with it yet.
Anything else that is important to you!
I’m full of joy, grace and gratitude for the vocation that God has given me. His goodness and love has been omnipresent since being ordained. Please pray for me that I can be true to His Word and always faithful.