Six Millennials Choose Priesthood, Helping Serve Chicago Parishes

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Roman Catholic church admits not as many young man are choosing to dedicate their lives to the priesthood.

But on Saturday, six millennials will do just that. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has a look at their reasons why.

The sound track to Timothy Anastos’ life was Indie music, which makes sense for a 29-year-old millennial.

“Actually a lot of people told me I would be a priest but I didn’t want to be a priest,” said Tim Anastos, of Mundelein.

The Mundelein native studied languages at the University of Illinois and was recruited by the FBI when he heard the calling.

“It was this amazing, perfect opportunity in front of me, but I had to go to the seminary. The idea of being in the FBI was completely empty,” Anastos said.

He went on to seminary studies in Rome and even met the Pope. He is among six Roman Catholic priests to be ordained Saturday by Cardinal Blasé Cupich.

Anastos said he can’t wait to be ordained.

“I should be nervous because it’s tomorrow and I am trying to keep peaceful,” said Prsemyslaw Tomczyk.

Prsemyslaw Tomczyk traveled from Poland to study at the diocese’s Mundelein seminary. For the 28-year old, the priesthood was not always on the horizon.

“I wanted to be a journalist as a matter of fact,” Tomczyk said.

Gradually through the years, he heard the call to spread God’s word.

“What I have learned in journalism helps me with preaching,” Tomczyk said. “To be concise, not to be too long, to put facts first, and to put some facts that captures your attention.”

Some see the priesthood as a vocation better suited to a different era, but for these modern men it is a perfect fit.

“First and foremost, I would like to be out there to minister to the people and be approachable,” Tomczyk said. “To be that minister of God’s mercy, transmitting that divine mercy toward them.”

“The desire of our hearts is so deep, when you fulfill what God is calling you to do it will bring you immense joy, whatever it is,” Anastos said.

The shortage of priests in the archdiocese has been well documented. By 2030 there may be only 240 to serve Chicago’s 345 parishes. Millennials are making a mark in so many industries. The millennials CBS 2 just met will be among those to confront those numbers in the years ahead.

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