|Saint Peter parish supports
all young men wishing to pursue to the priesthood, with spiritual
and financial assistance. Read about one of the fine young men
ordained from one of our own families.
Father Dan Kogut
up, the priesthood was the farthest thing from my mind. Since my
father and grandfather were in the military, I imagined I would have
a military career as well.
At Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, I was discerning whether to live single or to marry. I started a relationship with a young woman and kept praying about my decision. I soon decided that God wasn’t giving me the grace to be single. Celibacy seemed frightening, and I couldn’t fathom spending the rest of my life without this woman I had come to love.
However, I grew increasingly unsettled. My heart was restless, and it seemed like I was running from God. During an ethics class, Professor Janet Smith was talking about St. Damien of Molokai, who died of leprosy while serving a leper community in Molokai, but not before converting most of the island. Dr. Smith explained that each one of us is made to live for others and sacrifice ourselves in the way Saint Damien did, and that we won’t be truly happy until we do. This struck a chord with me. I realized that God was calling me to celibacy, and that I needed to say yes to him.
Breaking up with my girlfriend was difficult, but when I said yes to the Lord, I had amazing joy, peace, and freedom. I have never regretted the decision. Being a priest is the way God made me to sacrifice for him.
After college, I spent two years with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), an outreach that invites students into a growing relationship with Jesus and the Catholic faith. During the summer break, I lived with Father Ed Fride of Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor for a week. I asked him many questions, especially how I could reconcile being a parish priest with my desire to evangelize. His answers, and just being around him, inspired me, solidified my thinking about becoming a priest, and influenced me to enter Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
I loved seminary. The fraternity among seminarians is outstanding. We all have a singleness of purpose — to follow Jesus as priests, give our lives to the Church, and help people grow in holiness. It was also a time to grow in relationship with the Lord. My favorite classes were on Church history and scripture, and the spirituality of the new evangelization.
As a priest, I look forward to continuing to preach the Gospel and to the joy of saying yes to Jesus. I also look forward to offering the body and blood of Jesus for the sins of the world, and to bring him to others in the Eucharist.
We are like the woman at the well, seeking fulfillment in relationships or via some other means. But our ultimate fulfillment lies only in Christ. Only he can answer our deepest questions and satisfy our human needs.