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Charles Pavlick leaves work as attorney to become priest

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Charles C. Pavlick was born Nov. 4, 1966, in Pittsburgh, Pa., on the feast day of St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of seminarians. 

“My parents, Charles Jr. and Martha, had already decided to name me Charles after my grandfather, so being born on this feast day was fitting and providential,” said Pavlick. “I grew up in York, Pa., where we had Capuchin Franciscans at our parish, not diocesan priests. Being a Capuchin Franciscan is a great thing, and I have Cap friends, but it is also a specific calling, which I did not have.” 

Pavlick thought about a religious vocation in his 30s, but nothing worked out. He went to law school, which brought him to Washington and work at different law firms. “I could go to daily Mass and started going to the 1962 Latin Mass at St. John the Beloved Church in McLean. That has been my parish home since 2007,” he said. 

Pavlick’s brother and sisters told him that priests had helped them with marriages and baptisms, sharing a good homily or retreat. “That's how God put the idea of the priesthood back into my mind,” he said.

In 2013, he reached out to Father J.D. Jaffe, vocations director then, and began life as a seminarian. 

“One priest told people I gave up a career to discern the priesthood and I said all I gave up was a horrific commute,” he said. “I enjoyed my job and especially liked my coworkers, but I'm glad I entered seminary and can't wait to serve as a deacon and, God willing, a priest.”

He spent two years at Theological College in Washington, and now studies at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. 

“As an older seminarian, I've been very impressed with the prayerfulness and genuine goodness of my classmates,” he said. “I have a lot of hope for the church.”

Pavlick said he was worried it would be difficult being older but said the formation faculty and brother seminarians have been supportive. “I am very impressed with the men God is calling to seminary today. Some are really smart, some are excellent athletes,” he said. “They are just regular guys who are allowing God to do great things with them. Healthy, holy, happy.”

Pavlick has had summer assignments at St. Philip Church in Falls Church, Our Lady of Hope Church in Potomac Falls and St. Ambrose Church in Annandale. 

“The pastors and associates are good priest mentors and the people are extremely friendly, generous and supportive,” he said. “The prayers and kindness of the parishioners has been the best thing about being an Arlington seminarian.”

During his seminary school semesters, he worked with the elderly, with CCD students at St. John the Apostle Church in Leesburg, and with middle-schoolers at St. Veronica Church in Chantilly. 

“The diocese and seminaries give us a good mix of experiences to prepare us for parish life,” he said. “We seminarians do a lot of good in the parishes, but I'm looking forward to being able to proclaim the Gospel and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ upon being ordained a deacon.”

Pavlick will be ordained a transitional deacon by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More June 1.  

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019