‘fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God’ Is 41:10
Listen to new ordained Fr. Robert Voiland tell his story of being called the priesthood later in life. Peter Herbeck teaches us more about the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr. Alex Kratz encourages us to pray the Rosary and shares it’s importance.
Fr. Robert (Bob) Voiland
I was born and raised in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Other than a semester and half in college and my recent seminary theology years, I’ve lived in Mount Clemens. I was the second youngest of seven children, five girls and two boys. Parents were Jim and Jennie Voiland. Both a deceased.
I grew up at St. Peter Parish and attended the parish grade school, St. Mary’s, through eighth grade. We were taught by a mix of Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters and lay teachers. St. Mary High School had closed by the time I was of age, so I attended Mount Clemens High School and graduated in 1978.
I was interested in electricity from a young age and was accepted to study electrical engineering at General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in Flint, MI after high school. I remained there for about a semester and a half and realized I wanted a more “hands-on” career at that point. I was blessed to be kept on by General Motors as a general laborer until an apprenticeship in the skilled trades became available. I feel very blessed for this to have happened – General Motors had no obligation to keep me on as an employee upon leaving the work/study engineering program for which they were sponsoring me. During my time as a general laborer, I attended Macomb Community College and was able to complete an Associate’s degree in Electrical Engineering Technology just before an opportunity opened up for an apprenticeship as an industrial electrician. I was able to complete my apprenticeship, complete an Associate’s Degree in Maintenance Technology, and eventually attain master electrician and electrical contractor licenses, and complete a thirty year career with General Motors. My time at General Motors was a true blessing and a wonderful place to work.
Upon retirement, being still relatively young, I planned to work as an electrician in my own business. But, at the time, my mother was ill and soon died from cancer. My dad was aging and needed some help with health related issues. I had never married and was living at home, so it worked out well for my dad and me to care for each other. I also came to help care for an uncle and his son during this time. I spent about ten years as a caregiver.
When my caregiving responsibilities were relieved, I thought I would simply go back to my previous plan of continuing with electrical work, but I felt a call to be more involved in the Church. During my caregiving years, I regularly attended morning Mass with my parents and became active in helping out at Mass at St. Peter’s again. Several of the ministries I was involved in at St. Michael’s, I also engaged in at St. Peter’s. I found myself with two parish homes now. Out of this, I was falling more in love with my Catholic faith. I was learning more about it and recognizing the truth and beauty of it. I heard a sermon which rather starkly made me realize that although I was retired from General Motors, and that I could retire from electrical work, I could not retire from being a Catholic Christian. What was I to do?
From there, I looked into possibly studying to become a deacon. I was fifty-three-years old at that point. I had dismissed the suggestion of becoming a deacon when suggested by a Sister at St. Michael’s maybe only a year or two previous. Here I was thinking this is what I should look into! At a chance meeting with Fr. Ron Milligan, now deceased, I brought up the idea. He asked, why not consider priesthood. I thought it was ‘off the table’ at my age. He said, not so. He made a call to the vocations director at the time, Fr. Tim Birney, and I followed up with a call of my own. I pursued the philosophy studies path that Detroit seminarians follow, but as a commuter student. I was able to complete my A.B.-Philosophy at Sacred Heart Major Seminary after three years of year-round schooling, also obtaining an Associate’s Degree in General Studies from Macomb Community College. From there, I was given the opportunity to enter Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts for my theological studies. Pope St. John is a seminary for older men, ages 30-60, who have been called to the priesthood later in life, having come from other careers. I was able to complete their four-year program, PSJS awards a Master’s of Divinity degree, and was ordained here in Detroit on May 15, 2021.
Peter Herbeck is the Vice President and Director of Missions for Renewal Ministries. Peter oversees the work of lay mission teams throughout the world who work to equip Catholic lay people, bishops, priests, and religious to respond to Blessed Pope John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization. Peter is the co-host of the weekly television show The Choices We Face, and the host of the daily radio show Fire on the Earth.
He is a frequent conference speaker, and the author of books and audio tapes about discipleship and life in the Spirit. He has authored a book entitled When the Spirit Comes in Power and co-authored When the Spirit Speaks, Touched by God’s Word, with his wife Debbie.
Peter holds a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota and an M.A. in Theology from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.
Fr. Alex Kratz
St. joseph Chapel and Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary