Father Zipp hears call to priesthood while praying for others

| May 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

God’s call to the priesthood came to Father Andrew Zipp while he was praying for others.

Father Andrew Zipp

Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

But the ground was laid long before that, first from his parents, Scott and Lisa, and six younger siblings.

“I grew up in a very faith-filled home,” he said. “We prayed together daily before meals, before bed. We (lived) just down the street from the church” at St. Michael in St. Michael.

His father is an accountant and his mother is assistant to the principal at St. Michael Catholic School, where Father Zipp and his siblings attended through sixth grade.

He and his three brothers did a lot of camping and other activities with the Boy Scouts, and they were involved with youth ministry at the parish. A big part of his faith life was participating for several years in Extreme Faith Camp, a weeklong retreat for middle school students held at various sites in Minnesota that includes swimming and other activities, said Father Zipp, 26.

It was there, in fact, just after his freshman year in high school as part of a leadership team that spent the week praying for the younger campers, that Father Zipp first heard Christ call him to the priesthood.

“In that time the Lord worked on my heart,” Father Zipp told The Catholic Spirit, just weeks before his May 25 ordination to the priesthood. “I can’t say if it was a particular day or moment. But I know the Lord was calling me to be his priest. I didn’t know what to do with that.”

He decided to talk with then-seminarian Paul Shovelain (now Father Shovelain, parochial vicar of St. John the Baptist in New Brighton) as they rode back to St. Michael together after the retreat. Father Shovelain prayed with him and suggested he visit with the pastor of St. Michael at the time, Father Michael Becker.

Father Becker, now rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, suggested more prayer and discernment, Father Zipp said.

The call remained through his time at St. Michael-Albertville High School, a time that included retreats, going to the Lord in prayer, and in 2011, his senior year, starting a pro-life group of students known as ALIV.

Father Zipp entered St. John Vianney seminary the fall after his graduation from high school, and he continued at The St. Paul Seminary as he prepared for the priesthood. “It’s been quite an adventure,” he said.

The adventure included traveling with fellow seminarians to Rome, Ireland and the Holy Land and studying for a semester in Rome, Father Zipp said. He enjoyed his time as a transitional deacon at Holy Family in St. Louis Park, and at his teaching parish at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hastings.

In his first assignment as a priest, Father Zipp will serve as parochial vicar of St. Vincent de Paul in Brooklyn Park, effective June 12.

He presided at his first Mass as a priest May 26 at St. Michael Church in St. Michael.

As a seminarian, he particularly looked forward to celebrating the Mass and hearing confessions, Father Zipp said, with all the meaning that is involved in “being able to share with others the Eucharist, and bring others back to the Lord’s love in the sacrament of confession.”

Support from family and others has been important in his journey to the priesthood, Father Zipp said, including lifelong friends Kyle Salonek, Tyler Ferry and Grant O’Neil.

Father Peter Richards, current pastor of St. Michael, Father Shovelain and Father Becker, and John O’Sullivan, youth minister at St. Michael and founder of Extreme Faith Camp, have been key mentors, he said.

Such people, he said, have “kept me accountable at times and are a constant witness of faith, love and devotion.”

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Category: Ordinations