“Find Jesus in the Eucharist. If you want to know what God wants, go to Him.” Fr. Craig Giera and Fr. David Pellican are joined by Fr. Perrin Atisha who shares his journey to ordination at age 26 for the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle. Through a powerful retreat in high school, time in Eucharistic Adoration, his father’s approval of his vocation, and a trip to Iraq, God showed Fr. Perrin that he was called to the priesthood. Now Director of Vocations, Fr. Perrin gives valuable insight into the heart of a priest and discernment 101. “We don’t need perfect men. We need men who are in love with God.”
(00:03) Fr. Craig Giera and Fr. David Pellican welcome us to this episode of Men of the Hearts. This episode’s guest serves as the Director of Vocations for the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle. He recently attended a national conference for vocation directors. Fr. David shares that he has finally finished remodeling a private chapel in the Divine Child rectory.
(9:09) Fr. Perrin shares his vocation story: He has two brothers and a sister, and they were raised as devout Chaldean Catholics. At age five, Fr. Perrin started altar serving and, a year later, told his mother, “I want to do what the priest does.” But in high school, he fell into “living a double life.” He describes it as, “I wasn’t truly living for the Lord.” In Mass, he marveled at the priesthood and felt a desire to pursuing a priestly vocation. But outside of Mass, he felt “distracted by the world.”
(16:40) A Kairos Retreat in high school changed Fr. Perrin’s relationship with God. And in the Eucharistic Adoration chapel at his high school, Fr. Perrin experienced “the presence of God” as he began to visit the chapel during his lunch period. Later at Wayne State University, a priest welcomed him to the Newman Center with such intentionality and joy, and he was drawn into college ministry even leading Bible studies. After feeling ready to enter seminary after college, he was asked to wait a year. While hurt and angry then, he looks back and says, “If I didn’t have that year, I don’t think I would be a priest.”
(32:02) Prayer life in discernment: Fr. Perrin attended Eucharistic Adoration daily and Mass during the week. He also prayed with scripture regularly and read the lives of the saints. Fr. Perrin shares how he overcame struggles with his father’s attitude towards him pursuing a priestly vocation. He felt the time he most struggled with his vocation was between the time he was accepted into seminary and the time he entered. He can see in retrospect that those doubts for himself and his vocation were not from God but from the evil one.
(44:16) Adjustments in the seminary: Fr. Perrin shares how his relationship with his father and mother changed as he journeyed through seminary. His father grew in approval of his vocation and their relationship improved, and his mother grew in allowing Fr. Perrin to have independence in his discernment. “Just because there are struggles, doesn’t mean God isn’t calling us.”
(51:42) Ordination: “I always knew I would love being a priest, but I didn’t know it would be this beautiful.” He shares that the theme of his priesthood is, “God takes care of me.” He enjoys offering Mass and preaching. He talks about his discernment deciding whether to become a Chaldean or a Roman Rite priest and what went into making his decision, especially a trip to Iraq in 2017. Fr. Perrin offers some advice to men discerning, “Find Jesus in the Eucharist. If you want to know what God wants, go to Him. Be in love with the Lord.” He closes the episode in prayer.
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