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Michael Folmar, soon to be a deacon, finds his place in the Arlington Diocese

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After Michael J. Folmar graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, he thought he wanted to be a doctor of infectious diseases. A year later, he was sure he would be a friar with the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Today, he is glad that after years of discerning he will be ordained a transitional deacon for the Arlington Diocese June 3.

Folmar was born in Pittsburgh July 25, 1985, to Michael and Tamara Folmar, the second of four children. Because his father was in the military, then with the FBI, the family moved around a lot, but he considers Holy Spirit Church in Annandale his home parish.

Folmar attended high school in Tennessee and spent his first year of college at the University of Memphis. When his family relocated to Northern Virginia, he transferred to community college, then Mason, where he graduated with a degree in biology in 2008. A year later, he moved to Irondale, Ala., to live with the religious order that runs the Eternal Word Television Network.

Folmar had little experience with cameras or television but learned on the job. In his six years with the Franciscans, he was the assistant producer for “EWTN Live,” floor director and head sacristan, among other roles.

“(The experience) was very formative and I wouldn't be where I am today without it,” he said.  While there, he completed two years of pre-theology with a private tutor accredited through the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico. “Being the only student in class kept me on my toes,” said Folmar.

In August 2013, Folmar was sent to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., for more formation. Though the Franciscans had an inkling he was called to be a diocesan priest, Folmar was convinced he’d stay in the order. However, spending time with other diocesan seminarians made him realize they were right. “I was happy but my (brothers) helped me realize God was calling me to serve as a diocesan priest and boy, were they right,” he said.

Serving a summer at St. John the Beloved Church in McLean with his former spiritual director, Father Christopher J. Pollard, helped confirm his vocation and location. “It's good to be home,” he said.

And it feels good to be on the cusp of ordination to the diaconate, too. He’s seen many of his friends be ordained and was excited when Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge gave him the call.

“Now it's my turn,” he said. “I’m looking forward to more fully serve God and people of the Diocese of Arlington.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017