Three women play guiding role on road to vocation

| May 23, 2013 | 1 Comment

JaspersDeacon Andrew Jaspers

Age: 34

Hometown: Lake Crystal

Home parish: Cathedral of St. Paul

Parents: Dr. Anthony and Mary

Education: Honors B.A. in philosophy, Marquette University; M.A. in philosophy, Fordham University; MAT and masters of divinity, St. Paul Seminary

Teaching parish: Epiphany, Coon Rapids

Pastoral learning experiences: Spiritual direction, giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola on silent retreats, and crisis pregnancy counseling

Hobbies: Foreign languages, traveling, writing philosophy

Favorite book: After the Bible, G.K. Chesterton’s, “The Everlasting Man”

Favorite movie: “Into Great Silence”

Person you most admire and why: After the persons of the Holy Trinity, Mary and the saints, the recent popes, my archbishop and my seminary rector. They lead me to holiness and have shown me a joy that the world cannot give.

Thanksgiving Mass: 10 a.m. May 26 at the Cathedral of St. Paul

What led to your looking seriously into the priesthood?
As an altar boy, I experienced a joy and deep peace unlike anything outside of Mass. I knew my life had to be based on nearness to the Eucharist in a consecrated way. As people at daily Mass would ask if I ever considered priesthood, I replied, “I’d love to be a priest, and I will seek this as soon as I can.” These questions kept the desire fresh in my mind.

What were you doing before you entered the seminary?
I was a teacher at Creighton University in Omaha. I also wrote philosophical articles for the New Catholic Encyclopedia and various Catholic ethical journals. I thought that I had a vocation to the Jesuits and would spend 10 years as one. But the Lord ultimately showed me that I could be led to greater humility through diocesan priesthood.

Were there any reasons why you had not considered the priesthood earlier in your life?
No. I was considering it from the first moment thoughts of a profession and vocation came up.

When was the first time you thought about the priesthood?
It was on my heart at a very early age due to my service as an altar boy. But, when I was about 10 years old, my mother told me that I would have supernatural powers if I became a priest. I was highly interested in this, and always kept it in mind as I grew up.

What people and/or experiences were instrumental in identifying and developing your vocation?
Three women in my life: My grandmother, who gave me “The Imitation of Christ” and St. Augustine’s “Confessions”; my mother, as stated above; and my high school girlfriend, who when I asked if she thought we would marry replied, “No, you’re going to be a priest.” Also, almost every priest I met drew me closer to the priesthood. None of them were particularly extraordinary, they were just good priests.

What excites you most about becoming a priest?
The sheer number of souls that I can teach to pray, offer the sacraments, and grow in charity toward. I also am looking forward to entering more deeply into redemptive suffering. Through joining people in their suffering and joys, I draw nearer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the love of my life.

How would you like to answer the call to evangelization in your priestly ministry?
I would like to lead couples and families to discover their baptismal call and help them gather many others into communion with the Catholic Church, hopefully including door-knocking. I would like to unlock the resources of our faith through Bible studies and education about our saving doctrines in order to strengthen the evangelizers in their faith.

What encouragement and/or advice do you have for young men who may be considering the priesthood?
A young man should give at least a half hour to the Lord in silence every day. One cannot hear the Lord speak if one is always busy and assertive. A young man has to imitate Mary at the Annunciation, and wait for the great news that God will give him about his plan for his life. Then, he should resolve to try the call that God gives him, as he is only called to try and not necessarily to succeed.

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Category: Ordinations