| By Father Tim Pfander

One simple question

I love being a priest. I grew up in a home where we didn’t talk much about religion. I occasionally went to church with my sisters and I identified as Lutheran. As a young adult, I attended services sporadically, yet that changed when a friend of mine invited me to join her for Mass at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Macon, GA. It was there I met Father Jim Walker, an easy-to-talk-to priest who became a friend.

A few months later, after I had been attending Mass regularly, I entered into the R.C.I.A. program. It was very comfortable, not all that different from what I was used to in the Lutheran Church. At Thanksgiving in 1995, Father Jim met my mother who joined me for Mass. He and I had dinner shortly thereafter, and he asked me an unexpected question: “What will your mom say when you tell her you’re going to become a priest?” You could have knocked me over with a feather because I’d never thought of it before. I wasn’t even Catholic yet! Father Jim said that he was just planting a seed. After my confirmation, I had an incredible experience with the Eucharist, which is too detailed to discuss here but one that moved me closer to the seminary.

After about four years as a Catholic living in Birmingham, I spoke to Bishop David Foley, then Bishop of Birmingham. He accepted me as a seminarian in 1999, and I spent the next five years studying philosophy and theology. After ordination in 2004, I taught for 3 years at John Carroll Catholic High School. The next 17 years have been spent as a pastor in our diocese in various churches. This is a great life, and it all started with a simple question: “What will your mom say when you tell her you’re going to become a priest?” She was happy, and I LOVE BEING A PRIEST!

Father Tim Pfander is the pastor of Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Huntsville.