Priestly vocation took a detour through EWTN

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Deacon Michael J. Folmar’s interest in the priesthood started when he was 3 years old.

With a rosary draped around his neck, a towel for a cape and hands raised like the pope there was no denying it when his mother asked, “Michael, are you playing a priest?” 

He even utilized his toy safe as a stand-in tabernacle and assigned his brother, Matthew, to assist in the ceremony. 

“I always wanted to be a priest,” Deacon Folmar said. “It just took some time getting there.”

In high school, he acknowledged that discernment of a priestly vocation took a backburner.

“Forget this, I want to get married,” he said, recounting his earlier high school plan. “But even while dating, I always felt that there was something missing and I kept having a deep desire to serve God at the altar.”After graduating from George Mason University in 2008 with a bachelor’s in biology, he tested out his call to the priesthood by entering the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word at the Eternal Word Television Network in Irondale, Ala., Sept. 8, 2009.

The order specializes in providing for the sacramental and spiritual needs of the sisters and the visitors and pilgrims to EWTN. Deacon Folmar even had the opportunity to work as a cameraman on EWTN Live.

“It gave me a strong spiritual foundation and helped me to realize what my gifts are,” he said.

Yet, his superiors told him what he was starting to sense during holy hour reflections: he might be called to be a parish priest. 

“I heard this small voice during holy hour, a prompting: ‘If you ever do become a parish priest, you needed to have this experience first,’” Deacon Folmar said.

In May 2015, he transferred to the Diocese of Arlington and studied theology at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

“I came home to the Arlington Diocese and it was totally beautiful,” Deacon Folmar said. 

Borrowing an analogy from his pre-med educational background, Deacon Folmar likened the job of a parish priest to a general practitioner who does a little bit of everything.

He is looking forward to serving the people in the diocese in numerous ways: celebrating Mass and administering other sacraments as well as supporting lay movements such as the Knights of Columbus. He also loves to teach and looks forward to assisting in Catholic schools.

“The good people of our diocese are paying for my education and it is my honor to serve them for the greater glory of God,” Deacon Folmar said. “But I’m not doing it alone since I’m entrusting my priesthood to Mary’s Immaculate Heart and her intercession.”

The date of the ordination, June 9, is also significant to him because it is the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and he credits Mary for his vocation. 

“The priesthood is such a big mission that no one is worthy of,” he said. 

For his first Mass, his chasuble vestment has an image of the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady with her Immaculate Heart.

“Between Our Lady and the Eucharist, I will always be safe,” Deacon Folmar said.

He will celebrate his first Mass June 10 at Holy Spirit Church in Annandale. Along with family members in attendance, his brother, Matthew, will be there to assist as an altar server.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018