With eclectic interests, Hughes brings strong prayer life into priesthood

| May 22, 2015 | 0 Comments
Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Check for a Roman collar on that bearded guy on the motorcycle. He could be your next associate pastor.

Folks at the parish where Deacon Peter Hughes will be assigned after his ordination to the priesthood May 30 will find behind the bushy beard a thoughtful, prayerful man with eclectic interests.

Along with riding a motorcycle, he hunts, hikes, likes “Dr. Who,” enjoys all styles of music but especially jazz and bluegrass, and has gained a reputation as a cook. When he sat for an interview and was asked if he had any hobbies, cooking and baking were the first things he mentioned.

His favorite dish to make?

“Ravioli from scratch.”

Deacon Hughes, 26, was raised in the St. Paul parish in Ham Lake, where his parents, Greg and Sheila, were involved in the faith formation program, he said.

The idea of priesthood surfaced in a significant way when he was a ninth-grader.

“We had to write about what career we thought we might go into,” he said, “and I put down either being a genetic engineer in botany or a priest. I tried to evangelize with my school work.”

He went straight from high school to St. John Vianney, the archdiocese’s college seminary, then to the St. Paul Seminary.

He took a semester off — “I had a lot of questions along the way,” he explained — and worked as a sous chef at a restaurant in Andover.

“Falling in love with the Lord who loves us most,” is how he describes his call to the priesthood.  “I enjoy serving other people,” Deacon Hughes said. “My way of expressing love is serving.”

He said he’ll be taking inspiration from two priests in his life, Father Dennis Hoffman, a cousin who is a priest in the Diocese of Duluth, and his former pastor in Ham Lake, Father Tim Nolan, “as well as other good priests, and being true to myself.”

He said he prays best at Mass and with the Liturgy of the Hours, and by making a holy hour every day.

As a seminarian, he took advantage of adoration from 6 to 7 each morning in the chapel at the St. Paul Seminary.

“It’s important to me to get that focus at the beginning of the day and to keep perspective on the rest of the day,” he said.

As he takes the step into priestly ministry, Deacon Hughes is “anxious but excited,” he admitted, feeling confident and well prepared.

“There was a wide range of academics covered in the seminaries,” he said, crediting St. John Vianney College Seminary for giving him a sound foundation, one he said he was able to continue to work on across Summit Avenue at the St. Paul Seminary.

People have asked him why he’d want to be a priest, considering the crises the Church has been going through, and he shared this answer:

“The Lord calls us to enter now,” Deacon Hughes said. “Priests today have to be willing to bear that cross, and I’m willing to bear it. I hope to bring healing to those who are hurting.”

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Category: Ordinations