If you think the priesthood is boring or mundane, this episode of Men of the Hearts is for you. Monsignor Tim Hogan shares the journey the Lord has brought him from being a medic in the military, to religious life, to diocesan priesthood as a Navy chaplain, including being airdropped from a helicopter to offer Mass on nine different ships. “These people really wanted a chaplain, they wanted Mass, they wanted Confession, they wanted to talk with someone.” Join hosts Fr. Craig Giera and Fr. David Pellican as they marvel at the Lord’s spirit of adventure and the unknown plans God has for each man thinking about the priesthood.
(00:26) This month’s guest is Monsignor Tim Hogan, pastor of St. Fabian Parish. He has spent most of his priesthood as a chaplain in the Navy, along with some time in a religious order. He now serves the Archdiocese of Detroit as a parish priest. Fr. Craig shares that the Archbishop announced a Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday. The Year of Prayer begins with a Holy Hour on June 4, the Vigil of Pentecost.
(06:50) Vocation Story: Monsignor Tim Hogan shares how he became a priest. He grew up in a large Catholic family of 11 children and was an altar server. He recalls how important Catholic devotionals and prayers were to the family, including the daily Rosary, as well as the “incredible” priests who served at St. Pius X, his home parish. After enlisting and serving in the Navy as a hospital corpsman, he had an awakening experience of feeling, “there’s got to be more.” God came into Msgr. Tim’s life in a powerful way through the witness of a friend’s “profound” conversion experience.
(14:40) Daily Mass: “Daily Mass 11:45.” Msgr. Tim entered a base chapel for Mass and felt the Lord tell him at the Consecration, “this is your home.” He started praying the Rosary again – a daily practice his family had while growing up. While praying the Rosary, he felt the Lord invite him to talk to someone about becoming a priest. After talking to one of the priests and returning to Confession, Msgr. Tim later invited him on deployments to offer Mass.
(21:55) Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Msgr. Tim shares meeting one summer a priest of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. The priest encouraged him to think more about the priesthood and invited him to visit a high school the order operated in Alexandria, Virginia, which led to him meeting the provincial, leaving the Navy, and joining the religious order, where he spent five years.
(25:20) “Am I called to religious life or diocesan priesthood?” Msgr. Tim shares his experience of reading St. Francis de Sales’ An Introduction to the Devout Life, discerning where God was calling him. While living life as a religious brother, he found that God was using his time in religious life to create a spiritual balance and pattern that led him to leave the community and later serve as a diocesan priest.
(32:32) “How did you come to the diocesan priesthood? And what brought you back to the Navy?” Through meaningful conversations and chance encounters with a friend, Msgr. Tim met with the director of priestly vocations, entered seminary, and was ordained a priest. Early in his priesthood, he received a letter inviting him to become a Catholic chaplain in the military and became a Navy chaplain with the Navy Reserve. He shares his experience being re-called to active duty for Desert Storm in 1991 and remained in active duty for a two-year tour. He served again in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 and 2005, retiring in 2007.
(40:05) “What is it like to be a Catholic chaplain in the Navy?” Everyday life and wartime experiences are discussed and what role a Catholic priest plays in the Navy. “The mission of the chaplains is to provide for the Catholics, to facilitate ministries for other religious denominations, and to care for all, to counsel everyone.” His time spent as a hospital corpsman came into play as he served in times of crisis, “God will use your history for His glory.” He shares the story of an Easter he spent offering a separate Mass on nine different ships.
(55:32) “What would you tell a man discerning the priesthood and also considering the military?” Msgr. Tim explains that there’s an option to do both, but your vocation first and foremost is to priesthood, not the Chaplain Corps. To close, he offers his advice to men who are attracted to serve God in the priesthood: “It comes down to this, are you willing to follow the Lord? He takes it from there. Wherever He wants us to serve, that’s the goal.” Msgr. Tim closes out the episode in prayer.