“Don’t be afraid.” Fr. David Pellican welcomes Bishop Robert Fisher, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, to Men of the Hearts. In this episode, they discuss His Excellency’s journey to the priesthood. He first considered the priesthood at age 10, but that thought was pushed away by a desire for marriage and a job in the business world. After serving at a summer camp in college, he felt his faith reawakened. Though not having full clarity, he entered seminary and took it one year at a time before being ordained in 1992. Bishop Fisher also shares about serving as Director of Priestly Vocations and how he found out Pope Francis selected him to be a bishop.
(00:03) Fr. David welcomes us to Men of the Hearts. This episode’s guest is Bishop Robert Fisher. He is the oldest of four kids originally from the west side of Detroit, about three miles down the road from Sacred Heart Major Seminary. His family offered a “supportive attitude” for discerning the priesthood even growing up with priests and religious in the family. He was an altar server, and it was around age 10 that he first considered the priesthood. But then he felt a desire for marriage and wanted to enter the business world. In college, he began to grow in his prayer life through silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
(17:35) Bishop Fisher felt the call come back to considering the priesthood while serving at a summer camp. He prayed about it and talked with some friends, and the support helped him consider the seminary more seriously. He felt the Lord inviting him to, “Go to the seminary for a year.” He still desired to have a family and didn’t have full clarity, but he took the next step to enter seminary. After a year spent in the parish as a seminarian, he said, “I just knew, I just knew” that the priesthood was his calling, and it was confirmed in his prayer life. However, he still brought to the Lord his desire for fatherhood, which He ended up satisfying through the spiritual fatherhood he experiences with parishioners.
(22:23) Clarity: Fr. David comments on the graces of co-hosting this podcast and “seeing the full range of how God calls people.” Some guests have a gradual path to the priesthood, others receive a single moment of clarity. “God knows us uniquely and what suits us best.” Fr. David shares a moment of clarity for him when he realized, “God did not call me to be a seminarian but a priest” and both share the desire they felt for “flapping their wings” in preparation for serving as a priest.
(28:30) Roles as a priest: Bishop Fisher served as Director of Priestly Vocations for five years. He said he missed being in the parish because he loves serving families. However, he witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit touching the hearts of men discerning the priesthood. He then shares the story of getting the call that Pope Francis selected him to be an auxiliary bishop of Detroit. “How’s it been being a Bishop?” His Excellency shares that he misses parish life, knowing families and watching kids grow up. But he loves serving the Church at a higher level and seeing the Gospel unleashed throughout the archdiocese.
(40:24) “What would your words be to a young man who is considering the idea of the priesthood?” Bishop Fisher says, “Be not afraid. If God wants you to do something with your life, it’s going to be good. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be good.” He compares discernment to dating, in wanting to know a lot about the vocation that you’re discerning. “Bug your parish priest, ask him lots of questions, attend a Discernment Group, go to Mass regularly, and spend time with the Blessed Sacrament.” Bishop Fisher closes the episode in prayer.