"Whatever you need to hear the voice of God, if you're open to it, God's gonna talk to you." Join Fr. Craig Giera as he welcomes Fr. John Kopson, who shares his journey to the priesthood. After leaving college seminary with a desire for more certainty in his vocation, Fr. John began working at a nursing home as a Certified Nurse Assistant. After an encounter with a dying priest, Fr. John experienced the Lord give him the grace and clarity he needed to return to the seminary and ultimately, be ordained to the priesthood. This episode of Men of the Hearts closes with an encouragement for men discerning to surrender to the Lord, and He will satisfy their desires.
(00:26) Fr. Craig welcomes us to this episode of Men of the Hearts. This month's guest is Fr. John Kopson, who is pastor at St. Anne Parish in Warren. Fr. John shares about his growing devotion to the Rosary and how it's been implemented into his life, even changing how he drives. They discuss Marian devotion and the title for Mary: Our Lady, Terror of Demons. Fr. Craig shares how we can pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary for priestly vocations. Fr. John emphasizes the importance of the Eucharist and Adoration, which Fr. Craig explains is included in the Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations through regular Holy Hours.
(14:50) Fr. John is invited to share his vocation story. At a young age during his Confirmation interview, the priest told Fr. John that he might have a priestly vocation, which planted a seed in his heart that didn't flower until his early twenties. Reading scripture, going to Confession, and reading the Catechism began to change Fr. John's heart. A pilgrimage to Medjugorje deeply impacted his prayer life. He felt his 'head knowledge' become 'heart knowledge.' He recollects the influence of his mom doing prison ministry for 20 years, opening his heart to the power of redemption and authentic conversion.
(36:10) Fr. John shares that he felt a huge desire to defend the Catholic Faith. He had clarity that he would spend his life for this purpose. He came to the point that he wanted to give his life to share the faith and share Jesus. "When you enter the seminary... you're not saying that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God's calling you to be a priest. You're simply saying that you want to discern if this is your calling or not." This advice from a priest offered Fr. John comfort and peace as he applied to seminary.
(39:00) Fr. John decided to leave and "discern out" at Christmas break of his last year in college seminary. In his discernment and prayer, he felt he wanted more certitude that God was calling him to become a priest. His experience as a Certified Nurse Assistant helped him understand the shortage of priests, the need for Intercessory Prayer and the Sacraments, and that his heart was naturally compassionate toward his patients. A powerful experience with a dying priest who was on comfort care was a catalyst to moving Fr. John back into seminary.
(59:40) "Whatever you need to hear the voice of God, if you're open to it, God's gonna talk to you." Fr. John shares his wisdom that God will speak to each man He calls to be a priest differently. God knows each soul, and His timing is perfect. "This life is a sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice that feels good."
(1:01:57) A word to those discerning: talk to a good priest! "You don't have to figure this out on your own." Fr. John directs discerning men to Fr. Craig who is the Director of Priestly Vocations for the Archdiocese of Detroit. "And pray the Rosary. Set time aside each day for prayer. And ask Jesus for the strength and desire to do His will." The two priests affirm their experience that God satisfies our desires. If we surrender to Him and His will, then we will be eternally happy. Fr. John closes out the episode in prayer.