Name: Fr. Marty Goetz
Years ordained: 17
Current assignment: Vocation director for the diocese
How did you know you were being called to priesthood? I was named after a priest — Father Martin Diamond — and I always wanted to be just like him. I would offer Mass when I was very little and would preach for about 20 minutes! When I was in high school I wanted to be involved in sports so I pursued being a sports writer, although I would think every so often about whether I was being called to priesthood. It wasn’t until after my freshman year in college that I took a risk and really prayed about where the Lord was calling me.
Aside from your ordination Mass, what was your most memorable Mass? It was a couple of months after my ordination. The newly ordained deacons were having a mini-retreat in Iowa City and invited me to offer Mass for them. Deacon John Zavacki was dying of cancer and they asked me if I could anoint him. At the end of Mass we gathered together — priest, deacons and families — and prayed over John. I anointed him as he sat in the middle of all of us. You could truly feel the power of the Holy Spirit!
What is most rewarding about being a priest? I get to look into the eyes of a child when I pour the waters of baptism over that child’s head as God’s grace and new life touches that child in a special way. And I get to see the eyes of the parents as we celebrate this important day. I get to look into the beautiful eyes of a young child coming forward to receive Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time.
I can offer the mercy and forgiveness of God to someone in the sacrament of penance who has been away from the church for many years. I can offer someone strength and healing in the anointing of the sick at the nursing home or hospital or in their home or in a parish celebration. I can proclaim and preach the Word of God and celebrate the Eucharist.
I can witness the love of two young people standing before God and their family and friends as they begin their new life together in the sacrament of marriage. I can offer God’s peace and consolation to a family when someone dies. I can walk with individuals as they search for faith and then welcome them into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil.
What is most challenging about being a priest? Patience. Sometimes I think I’m planning these great things and no one (or only a few people) shows up. Sometimes I sit in the confessional and no one shows up. I have to remember that it is God our Father who is in charge — I’m just his associate!
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Jeremiah 1:4-9. When the Lord calls him he doesn’t want to go and makes up all sorts of excuses. I think we’re all like Jeremiah in one way or another.
What is your hobby? Family and friends, running, golfing, Star Trek, CSI and NCIS.