National Vocation Week (November 6-12) is a special time set aside to celebrate religious vocations and those God has called to serve the Church in this way. Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids are proud of their graduates who, like St. Peter, have responded when the Lord said “Come, follow me.”
One such graduate is Fr. David Sacha who was in the second grade at St. Isidore Catholic School when he first answered the call to serve the Lord. “A priest visiting the classroom walked in and asked, ‘Who is going to replace me?’ So I raised my hand,” says Fr. David. ““That was the first time I realized that priests served others, and I could serve like them.”
Growing up, Fr. David says that his parents fostered a home life oriented around service. Being raised in an environment where serving others was encouraged helped to form the desire in his heart to serve the Lord in a drastic way. “Also, when I was little, I heard so many grown ups talk about their 40 hour work week. So naturally I thought that a one hour work week sounded like a pretty nice job,” he humorously adds. He now realizes this is not the case for any priest.
Fr. David was born and raised in Grand Rapids, and after St. Isidore, he attended All Saints Academy and West Catholic High School. Catholic education, particularly at the high school level helped him develop an openness to the vocation of the priesthood. “I was so encouraged by the environment around me,” Fr. David says, “My friends would lightheartedly joke with me and say they hoped to go to my parish when we all grew up”. At West Catholic the priesthood was regarded as a serious option for young men, and a vocation that should be embraced with both excitement and honor. Not only his peers, but his teachers influenced his discernment process. “The teachers all pushed me academically, especially in my religion classes,” Fr. David said. “It was not enough for me to just accept what the Church taught, but to understand it as well.” He cited, in particular, a religion class taught by Mr. Sean Nolan.
Fr. David’s Catholic education prepared him well to enter the seminary after he graduated from West Catholic, and he was ordained as a priest in the Diocese of Grand Rapids this past June. Fr. David now serves as the parochial vicar at both the Basilica of St. Adalbert and St. Mary Parish. Over the summer he was also assigned to West Catholic High School as one of the chaplains and says he feels the weight of the chaplaincy. “I am now ministering to my high school teachers. I keep asking myself, ‘How is God calling me to serve those who served me so well?’”
Fr. David encourages anyone who is discerning the vocation to just ask. Ask your principal, your teachers, your priest. Those interested can always reach out to Rev. Stephen Durkee, the Director of Priestly Formation, at email@example.com. Fr. Stephen also hosts monthly discernment gatherings.