Name: Father John Stecher
Years ordained: 38
Current assignment: Chaplain and instructor at University of St. Francis, Fort Wayne, Ind.
How did you know you were being called to priesthood?
I fought it for 27 years and said … all the great memories of your life lead to that which is beyond life. I remember at age 10 having to get milking cows home and I used to be a little upset about having to do this. But the sun would rise early in the morning and I was glad to be out and alive. I knew there was something great and beyond this world. I didn’t know where that was going to lead. But it was my first realization that there was something I wanted to pursue that was much greater than this world. The beauty, the goodness and the truth, Plato would say.
Aside from your ordination Mass, what was your most memorable Mass?
Probably my parents’ funeral Masses were big, and my brothers’ and sisters’ weddings. Every wedding and funeral has some of that tinge or some of that piece of it. Every Mass you celebrate — you remember your brothers and sisters.
What is most rewarding about being a priest?
You’re a part of a much larger family than your immediate family. You have a wedding, it’s like family. It’s much greater, more extensive.
What is most challenging about being a priest?
To always have the energy to serve as best you can. People’s needs are great. When you think of a wedding, it’s quite joyful; then you turn around and maybe you’ll have a funeral. The emotional need — you really have to be settled in your own emotional life to handle emotions so contrasting. It’s emotionally draining.
What is your favorite Scripture passage?
The story of The Prodigal Son, with the good old benevolent father — who’s just waiting, waiting, waiting.
What is your hobby?
Travel. Spell it; capitalize every letter. When I got off the farm milking cows, I never stopped.