From soldier to philosopher

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Andrew Haissig, 27, is the son of a military family that, after traveling around the world, settled in Northern Virginia, where they worshipped at St. Veronica Church in Chantilly.

He was a senior in high school when he started thinking about the priesthood. After graduation, he enrolled in the engineering program at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg. He also joined the ROTC program at Tech and had plans to enter the Air Force after graduation.

After two years at Tech, and much prayer and consultation with Fathers James Arsenault, his pastor at Tech, and Brian G. Bashista, former diocesan vocations director, the draw of the priesthood resurfaced. Haissig had to make a decision - continue in ROTC and commit to four years of military service and four years in the reserves, or continue his discernment.

He chose the priesthood, and transferred to Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in philosophy.

"My two years at Franciscan helped me to discern, and I looked into a few religious orders before I realized I really felt called to the diocesan priesthood," said Haissig.

After graduating from Franciscan, he enrolled in Catholic University's Theological College in Washington.

Haissig will be ordained a deacon May 31 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington. Currently, he helps out at St. Agnes Church in Arlington, assisting with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

He looks forward to preaching and to serving in the parish on a daily basis and to representing the church as one of her ministers. Haissig enjoyed going to St. Agnes every week as a seminarian, but looks forward to the summer after his ordination because, "it will give me a more intimate experience of everything that goes on in the parish."

As a future priest, Haissig said he looks forward to celebrating Mass and hearing confessions and absolving sins in Jesus' name.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2014