Name: Father John Stack
Years ordained: 21
Current assignment: Senior chaplain at Mercy Medical Center in Clinton
How did you know you were being called to priesthood? I was the last one to know. Many people told me they could see it in me; I thought they were at least mistaken and perhaps crazy. In fact, it wasn’t until the summer between my third and fourth year at seminary (I was training at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, three months before my diaconate ordination) that I knew. I was watching open-heart surgery on a 7-year-old and that marvel of God’s creation made me realize only God could make something so dependable and beautiful.
Aside from your ordination Mass, what was your most memorable Mass? My father’s funeral Mass. Both of my brothers and my sister joined me in a tremendous tribute to a great man. For me to be able to preach as well as offer that Mass, along with my brother’s singing and all of our recollections, surely made Mom and Dad quite proud of their family.
What is most rewarding about being a priest? I have been blessed with the gift of evangelization – it can be one hospital bed at a time, or one family, or one Cursillo or TEC retreat or even one parish at a time (I sub on weekends). It just makes me humble to see people get excited about their faith and to live it as Jesus intended us, deeply!
What is most challenging about being a priest? Lackluster indifference towards the faith is hardest for me to see. When I discover a supposedly educated, catechized person who is lukewarm about his or her commitment to Jesus, it leaves me crestfallen if it’s a parent and astonished when it’s a member of the clergy.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? It’s a tie between John 8: 31–32 and 1 Timothy 6: 3–16.
What is your hobby? I’m an avid reader — especially the 100 greatest classics and Earl Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason.