Name: Father Tony Herold
Years ordained: 1979 (30 years as a priest!)
Current assignment: Pastor, Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish, Clinton
How did you know you were being called to priesthood?
My vocation to the priesthood probably started before the idea ever entered my mind. Both my parents were proud of my sister’s vocation as a religious (Sister Judith Herold, SSND). Therefore the idea of a vocation in the church was always a possibility. I grew up in a very Catholic community and attended Catholic schools. When I began to search for a deeper relationship with the Lord after high school, the idea of entering the seminary seemed like a good way to explore my faith and discern God’s calling.
In the seminary I encountered friendly, wholesome, well-educated priests who were part of the St. Ambrose faculty and good role models for diocesan priesthood. I also encountered peers who were discerning the possibility of priesthood just as I was. The atmosphere was welcoming, open, and full of new life as the reforms of Vatican II were being implemented. This time there was a rising spiritual hunger with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in place and the Jesus movement of the late ‘60s and ‘70s.
My vocation gradually became more than a possibility as my faith in Christ and my understanding of the church and love for the church increased. I feel very fortunate to have lived in the time I did and to have the good example of priests and support of my family.
Aside from your ordination Mass, what was your most memorable Mass?
Wow! All the Masses I attend are wonderful manifestations of God’s redeeming love, but a memorable one for me happened in June 2007 when a group from our parish visited our sister parish in Sapillica, Peru, and I was able to concelebrate Mass with Bishop Dan Turley, the bishop of Chulucanas, and Padre Ricardo, the pastor of Sapillica. At that Mass the bonds of friendship and love were solidified between our two parishes. Even though the Mass was in Spanish … and I am imprisoned in the English language … I understood almost everything that was going on and could concelebrate meaningfully. The Mass is the same everywhere.
Bishop Turley asked me to speak to the people as part of the homily at the Mass and he translated for me. I mentioned to the people that this was the first time a bishop was my mouthpiece instead of me being the bishop’s mouthpiece!
What is most rewarding about being a priest?
Knowing that in small and not-so-small ways I am an instrument of Christ — His hands, feet, and voice. I love to preach and find that this feeds into my prayer and spirituality.
What is most challenging about being a priest?
Being a representative of Christ and the church when I am conscious of my sinfulness and unworthiness.
What is your favorite Scripture passage?
Right now it is between John 13 — Jesus washing the feet of his disciples — and Romans 8 (paraphrased): For to those who love God everything works out of the good. Neither trial, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness or the sword can keep us from the love of God.
What is your hobby? Music, walking, traveling — I used to play guitar fairly well and would like to pick up that instrument again!