Deacon Magat Is Eager for Parish Work

"It was nothing dramatic — just a tug at the heart that our Lord was saying, ‘Come and follow me.’" That is how Deacon Jerome Magat describes his call to the priesthood, leading to his ordination at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington on June 9 by Bishop Paul S. Loverde. Deacon Magat was born in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 4, 1972, to Rolando and Stella Magat. At St. Michael Parish in Annandale, diocesan priests Father Jerome Fasano and Father Daniel Spychala taught him how an altar boy serves Mass. "They always stressed the importance of reverence for the Eucharist," Deacon Magat recalls. "They were also just great mentors and examples of priestly living." Deacon Magat grew up in a "faithful, church-going family," who always encouraged him to do God’s will. While he was a senior at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, he and his sister, a freshman at Georgetown Visitation Prep School, team-taught CCD at St. Michael. After graduating from Ireton, Deacon Magat attended the University of Virginia. During freshman year, he met Father Edward Hathaway, a UVA alum who was assigned to St. Michael. "That got me thinking that God could call a man out of that environment into the priesthood," Deacon Magat said. Throughout college, Deacon Magat continued to attend Mass and stayed connected to the Church. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in government in 1995. About six months after starting a job with a health care consulting firm in Washington, Deacon Magat "sensed a serious call to the priesthood." Although he liked his work, his co-workers and "the life I was headed for," he says, "I began to sense that God was calling me to do something else — something directly for Him." Deacon Magat entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., and was ordained to the diaconate on June 2, 2001, at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More. "My diaconate year at St. Luke Parish in McLean has been a great learning experience," Deacon Magat said. "Working with a wide variety of different ministers and the opportunity to do a good amount of preaching at Mass was very good for me." He especially enjoyed visiting nursing homes and shut-ins, who he calls "the great prayer warriors in the parish." From patient St. Luke parishioners, he says, he learned how a parish operates. As his priesthood and parish work draw closer, Deacon Magat is looking forward to administering the sacraments, celebrating Mass and "the opportunity to reconcile souls to God and the Church through the sacrament of Penance." He is eager for the diverse experiences that make up parish life. "I am just looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and diving into parish work," he said. He particularly hopes to teach RCIA and adult education, reaching out to young adults and young married couples. "As a relatively young priest, I think that I will be able to connect with that group and help them along in their spiritual journey," he said. Older priests have advised Deacon Magat to stay faithful to a daily regimen of prayer, to have good priest friends, to get to know the bishop better and to have balance in his priestly life — including taking his day off — but "most importantly, to really love the people." Deacon Magat believes his sense of humor is "a good way of reaching out to people and showing them that the Gospel is good news and that priests come to share Christ’s joy." As he finishes his studies, Deacon Magat says he was "blessed to have received my training at Mount St. Mary’s" and extends thanks to everyone who has prayed for him on his journey to ordination. "I hope to be a priest known for his zeal, compassion, love for souls and love for prayer," Deacon Magat said. "I think, given our current climate, the need for holiness in the priesthood and upstanding moral example is a must. I want to finish each day knowing that I have been truly faithful to my ordination promises and cooperative with God’s grace to bring souls to Him."

Copyright ?2002 Arlington Catholic Herald.  All rights reserved.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2002