One year later: Father Voitus reflects on the priesthood
CHARLOTTE — Last June, just one man was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Charlotte. Father Joshua Voitus, now the parochial vicar at St. Vincent de Paul in Charlotte, shares some thoughts, joys and highlights with the Catholic News Herald one year following his own ordination to the sacred priesthood:
CNH: What has been the most unexpected part about being a priest?
Father Voitus: I know that this isn't a good answer, but nothing! I was really expecting ANYTHING. I remember being told several times in seminary that there was no real way that seminary could prepare someone for each and every challenge or situation that might arise during the course of parish ministry, so you kind of get as prepared as possible for just about anything.
CNH: What is it like serving such a vibrant, multicultural parish?
Father Voitus: It is busy. It was something of an adjustment from the somewhat strictly regulated schedule of seminary to the more topsy-turvy (and busier) world of parish ministry. Fortunately, St. Vincent's has a wonderful pastor in Father Mark Lawlor, who both by his example and guidance has helped me to adjust to all of the particularities of this ministry.
CNH: Has your Spanish improved?
Father Voitus: I like to think that my Spanish has improved. Most people that I talk to after the Spanish Mass tell me that my pronunciation is improving, so that is comforting.
CNH: Have there been any special moments with your family?
Father Voitus: I had the opportunity to give my niece/goddaughter her first holy Communion last month. That was a great grace.
CNH: What is your favorite memory of the past year?
Father Voitus: Although there have been many wonderful moments throughout the past year at St. Vincent's and elsewhere, nothing can really compare with the moment of Consecration at my first Mass at Holy Family in Clemmons. It was completely indescribable and a moment of tremendous grace – a moment which I recall fondly and often.
CNH: What did you do to celebrate your first anniversary to the priesthood?
Father Voitus: I had two experiences which put a wonderful cap on my first year as a priest. First was offering Mass at the apparition chapel in Knock, Ireland – my first time offering Mass at a Marian shrine. The second was being able to attend an ordination so close to my anniversary. As Bishop Jugis said during Saturday's ordination Mass, it is a great opportunity to reflect on the gift of the priesthood.
CNH: Did you have any special roles in this year's ordination Mass?
Father Voitus: This year was especially moving for me as all three new priests are men whom I have known for years and attended seminary with. I was given the great honor of being asked to vest Father Peter Shaw in his priestly vestments. I can imagine no better way to cap off my first year than to welcome three new brothers into this wonderful and grace-filled life.
— Mary B. Worthington, correspondent
Pictured: Father Joshua Voitus celebrates Mass during a recent pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, in Ireland, with several faithful of the Diocese of Charlotte. (Photo provided by Ruben Tamayo)
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FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy