January 12, 2007

Religious Vocations Supplement

Former member of St. Nicholas Parish ordained a priest in Rome

The Criterion staff report

Legion of Christ Father Daren Weisbrod, formerly a member of St. Nicholas Parish in Sunman, was ordained a priest on Dec. 23 at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome.

Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Holy See’s Institute of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, was the celebrant of the liturgy during which 55 members of the Legion of Christ were ordained to the priesthood.

“Be convinced that you are priests the world needs because the world needs God, because without him life has no meaning, because God is the only antidote to sadness and despair, because he is the only remedy to death,” Cardinal Rode told the new priests in his homily. “Live joyfully! No difficulty, no weakness can ever be a cause to abandon yourselves to sadness or despair.”

Born in Cincinnati in 1974, Father Daren later was a student at St. Nicholas School, where he was taught by the Sisters of St. Francis based in Oldenburg.

“I am extremely grateful,” Father Daren said, “for the care they always showed for our religious formation, and above all for the example of generous fidelity to their religious lives. I think that I owe my religious vocation to their example, sacrifice and prayer.”

Life at home was centered on the family and the education of Father Daren and his three older brothers to become men fully prepared for all that life would ask of them.   

“I can sum up my youth in these words: hard work, family fun and living life to the full,” said Father Daren.   

He learned how to work hard alongside his father and brothers from the time he was a small boy.    

“Work was sacred and tough, and looking back leaves me with some of the best memories of my childhood,” Father Daren said. “As Sunday is the Lord’s Day, in a similar way Saturday belonged to my Dad.”

Being pushed for excellence in every field, Father Daren qualified for the National Honor Society at Milan High School in Milan with a 3.74 grade point average. In his high school years, he played various sports, took up acting and even won a state championship medal for singing.

Although he had initially planned on attending music school for college, his father invited him to enroll at the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. There, in the fall of 1992, he began studies for a double major in television and radio broadcasting and business management.

After one year of college, feeling inspired to give more to Christ and live the Catholic faith to the full in an active way, he thought about the priesthood.     

“The first place I checked out was the Legion, and I felt right at home.”

He entered the novitiate of the Legionaries of Christ in Cheshire, Conn., in 1993. From there, his preparation for the priesthood has brought him to several parts of the United States and Italy.

“Generosity is the primary gift that God gave me when it came time to saying yes to my vocation,” said Father Daren. “Having the world mapped out before me, and having a new reality proposed instead was at first difficult to accept, but at the very end of the candidacy I realized that God was asking more than I was giving.

“And in the end, I said, ‘Lord, if you want me, I’m yours.’ And I’ve never looked back. God blesses you when you’re generous.” †

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