Deacon Heintz Is Called from Politics to Priesthood

When Andrew Heintz moved from New York to Washington for graduate school at Catholic University in 1990, his focus was politics and the law, and his sights were set on Capitol Hill. But as he discovered the community at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Knights of Columbus in Arlington, Heintz? priorities shifted, and he felt a call to the priesthood that "overpowered" any other possible vocation. Fourteen years later on June 5, 2004, Heintz was ordained a deacon in the Arlington Diocese. On Saturday, June 11, Deacon Heintz will be ordained again: this time as Father Heintz. The seventh of 10 children born of William and Marilyn Heintz of Staten Island, N.Y., Heintz received a bachelor?s degree in political science from Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y., before earning a master?s degree in international relations from Catholic University. Heintz spent a lot of time with the Cathedral Council Knights of Columbus in Arlington, which he called "very instrumental" in his decision to become a priest. For Heintz, the decision to become a priest "wasn?t a major conversion experience that happened all of a sudden," he said. "It was more of a gnawing call to the priesthood. (The Knights) really confirmed my call to the priesthood in a major way. "I was pretty awestruck at the work and the level of commitment in so many different areas," he said, adding that their dedication was similar to that of a priest in full time ministry. Heintz also volunteered at the Shrine, which was "spiritually very uplifting. "I fell in love with serving Mass there and helping as a volunteer," he said. "I became a member of the family and community." Before entering Mount St. Mary?s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., Heintz served as a high school teacher in Maryland and a legal assistant in Washington. After his ordination in 2004 and during his fourth year of theology, Heintz worked at St. Anthony Church in Falls Church and became very involved with the Hispanic community, thereby putting his desire to minister into practice. "It?s been a great experience meeting people in all walks of life. I?m hoping to be a priest who reaches out to all ministries," he said. "I loved serving the people and acting as deacon in whatever capacity. There?s more ministry than you can imagine. Being a priest is anything but boring." Heintz said that the life and writings of Pope John Paul II were perhaps the greatest influences in his decision to become a priest. Right before entering the seminary, he read and was encouraged by Gift and Mystery, which reflected on the former pope?s 50th anniversary of ordination. Heintz also credited his family, especially his parents? dedication to their vocation of marriage, with helping him discern his call. Heintz graduated from Mount St. Mary?s on May 22 with a master?s degree in divinity, a master of arts and theology, and a certification in Hispanic ministry.

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2005