“Can I really be happy doing this?” Join hosts Fr. Craig Giera and Fr. David Pellican as they welcome Bishop Donald Hanchon, a Detroit native brimming with wisdom for vocational discernment. His Excellency shares his story of feeling called to the priesthood in grade school, attending high school seminary, and the questions and fears he faced along the way. A significant health concern in college seminary threatened his studies and brought him before Jesus in the Eucharist, a moment in which the Lord confirmed his vocation, “From your mother’s womb, I have called you.” Bishop Hanchon reminds us that God’s call for our life will bring us joy and satisfaction.
(00:26) Fr. Craig Giera welcomes Fr. David Pellican and our audience to this episode reviewing the last one with Monsignor Tim Hogan and his experience as a Navy chaplain. This month’s guest is Bishop Donald Hanchon, who is an auxiliary bishop here in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He shares a blessing about writing a talk recently for a Day of Prayer for the Family of Parishes’ Central Region. Together they discuss a busy May with seniors graduating from high school, a chapel altar construction project, and artwork.
(07:40) Fr. Craig shares a memory from his first year in the seminary, visiting Most Holy Redeemer parish, where the then-Monsignor Hanchon was pastor for many years. “I remember thinking, this guy is a cool guy.” His Excellency shares his passion for collecting memorabilia from his travels to the Holy Land and Mexico. Fr. Craig mentions his excitement over the upcoming Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations, which starts with a Holy Hour with the Archbishop on the Vigil of Pentecost, June 4.
(11:40) “When did you start thinking about being a priest?” Bishop Hanchon shares his experience of growing up with excellent models of the priesthood; he first thought of becoming a priest in grade school at St. Mary Parish in Wayne. He was invited to take the entrance exam at the high school seminary, which he did. During one of his interviews for admission, he remembers being asked, “Why do you want to be a priest?” He recalls sharing his response and the priest adding, “and to save your soul.”
(19:50) College seminary: After a severe stomach ulcer that left him hospitalized, Bishop Hanchon feared he would be deemed unfit for the priesthood. Afraid, he went before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and crying before God, he felt his vocation was confirmed from Him quoting Jeremiah 1:5: “From your mother’s womb, I have called you.”
(23:23) “God has a sense of humor.” Bishop Hanchon served as the Director of Priestly Vocations for the Archdiocese of Detroit. He shares: “A real vocation is something God gives you and that you respond to. If you think you have a vocation, talk to someone who knows more about vocations than you.” His Excellency feels God wanted him to discover the importance of friendship. This moved him to establish a priestly fraternity group, which has been going strong since 1975, allowing for the priests to hold each other accountable and trust one another with their blessings and difficulties.
(39:45) Common fears: “Can I really be happy doing this?” Or “Can my son really be happy doing this?” Bishop Hanchon shares about the role of desire when it comes to discerning the priesthood. “Do you think God would call you against your will? That hasn’t been my experience of God…. I don’t think God wants you to be a priest if you don’t want to be a priest.” Fr. David reminds us that His plan for each man is one of happiness and salvation. Fr. Craig details the challenges of the priesthood but explains how the sacrifice required is worth it.
(53:00) Advice for men considering the priesthood: Bishop Hanchon explains his criteria: “Is this person generous with his time and patience?” Further, he shares that a man should also be “in the habit of prayer … and be open where God is leading you.” Bishop Hanchon closes the episode with encouragement and prayer.