Larry and Bernadette Schalk with their son, Dave Schalk

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Larry and Bernie Schalk Talk about their Son Dave’s Journey to the Priesthood

david schalk

Ordination to the Priesthood, May, 2008 Columbus, Ohio

Larry and Bernie Schalk are proud of their son Deacon Dave and are looking forward to celebrating his ordination to the priesthood in 2008.

God’s Call to Dave

Dave realized God’s call to him during the winter of his senior year in high school, according to his parents.

“I think he had been thinking about it for some time, “said Larry. “I believe that his decision to enter the Josephinum instead of studying civil engineering at Georgia Tech came to him during perpetual adoration. His Holy Hour was Sunday night at 11 at Seton Parish.”

This was a time when then Pope John Paul II was challenging parishes to start adoration programs and for families to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

david schalkThe family kept Dave’s news about seminary quiet and waited until his high school graduation party to announce it to extended family and friends.

“They were surprised to say the least,” commented Bernie. One of Dave’s grandmothers had predicted she would have a grandson who was a priest. David let her in on his “secret.” David is the youngest of five children and youngest grandchild.

“Stop and Listen”

Larry and Bernie recommend that parents pray for and encourage their children to be open to a religious vocation. They believe that that quiet time in prayer can be a “motivating factor” in hearing and being willing to answer God’s call.

Parish and Diocese Activities

An active parish life can also lead a young man to openness to serving God as a priest.
David participated in youth group and his youth director at that time, Bob Moraine, provided many opportunities for young people, like David, to combine faith, fun, and fellowship.

schalk familyTravel Together

One of the benefits of Dave’s journey to the priesthood is that his family has had many opportunities to travel and spend time together. “He is a poster boy for travel and the priesthood,” laughs Larry.

“David has had such great opportunities to go to Medjurgoge, Italy, the Holy Land, spend Christmas in Bethlehem, visit Mexico and Columbia, and to learn and become proficient at Spanish. He has friends all over the country and all over the world. The priesthood has made this available to him,” said Bernie.

“We tease him about being the most traveled unemployed person in the world,” said Larry.

david ordinationDeacon David Schalk

David was ordained a Deacon in 2007. One of the many honors David has had as a deacon is baptizing his youth director’s newly adopted children. He also presided at the wedding for one of his closest high school friends.

A Church Family

Larry and Bernie noted that sometimes Dave’s siblings joke around with him about not marrying or having children. According to Bernie, Dave’s joyful response is always, “I have my church family. I will never be without family.”

Working on Sunday

Bernie laughs when she talks about Dave’s gift of storytelling and public speaking. One time she told him that he would be a good priest because he could deliver a story so well. David responded with, “Mom, I couldn’t do that – then I would have to work on Sunday!”

“So Thankful that he Listened”

Larry and Bernie are so thankful for the positive impact Dave’s call to the priesthood has had on their family.

david graduation“Dave’s decision and taking action on it has had such an influence on our lives and has helped us get closer to God. I am a Eucharistic Minister now,” said Larry. “I also lead communion services in the absence of a priest for our parish.”

Moment of Decision

David graduated from the Pontifical College Josephinum with majors in Philosophy and English Literature and made the decision to attend Mundelein Seminary and Graduate School of Theology. This, according to his parents, was his moment of final decision to become a priest.

In Grateful Thanksgiving

“We are just so joyful, thankful, happy, and so grateful. We are blessed beyond any expectation,” said Bernie in summarizing the experience of his journey that will culminate in his ordination as a priest in May, 2008.