A Catholic priest describes busy life at his local parish.
Of all the places to find God, Fr. Jason Buck ’03 realized his vocation to the Roman Catholic priesthood while mowing the lawn.
“I was cutting the grass one day and I saw myself holding the Blessed Sacrament in my hands as a Catholic priest,” Fr. Buck said. “I just heard God say ‘What are you willing to give up to be a Catholic priest?’”
“I said ‘Everything,’ and shortly after that I broke up with my girlfriend, I quit my job, and I applied for the seminary,” Buck said.
Buck said he considered becoming a priest while at Malvern but put it off for a while.
“I considered, ‘Why not be a priest?’” Buck said. “But I had plenty of other great things to do like sports, theater society, the different activities, friends, and even the idea was in the back of my head through college.”
The seminary takes seven years if you went to college before the seminary and ten years if you go to college through the seminary. Buck said that he studied many different subjects in the seminary, including philosophy, sacred scripture, Spanish, Greek, Latin, history, the sciences, theology, and Christology.
“The seminary is a period to discern God’s call in a more intentional manner, so you live in community with other guys who are discerning God’s call,” Buck said. “You pray together every day, you go to mass every day, you’re secluded from the world, so you don’t have the freedom to go out whenever you want.”
“You have the freedom to study, to grow in friendship, to grow in human formation, and to grow intellectually,” Buck said. “So you’re studying all types of topics that relate to our faith and relate to our humanity.”
While in the seminary, Buck was sent on assignments to various locations including St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia, Mary Mother of the Redeemer parish, and even a prison. “You get a whole lot of experiences along the way before you actually become a priest,” he said.
Today, Buck is assigned to St. Andrew Catholic Church in Newtown, Pennsylvania. According to its website, St. Andrew’s is comprised of over 6100 registered families.
Buck’s days at the parish are busy.
“I wake up pretty early,” Buck said. “I start the day with morning prayer, the rosary. I say Mass every day, so I get a homily prepared to celebrate morning mass, from there I have appointments for funerals, weddings, individuals. I might do 3 emergency calls to sick and dying people… it’s a pretty long day.”
Buck has many responsibilities at the parish. “It’s a whole assortment: from giving the Sacraments, to meeting families and people, to running the youth group, to running the school, to visiting people with dying parents, dying children – just seeing a little bit of everything in life,” Buck said.
Buck said that he hopes people describe him as, “a joy-filled priest… a good worker, someone who is strong in our faith… someone who believes that Jesus Christ is alive and present and that he loves us.”
Buck went to the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and said that most priests do go to college first like he did. He thinks it is the right path to take.
“You’re going to have have so many demands placed on you as a priest that a good formation is necessary so you don’t fall apart, you don’t break, and you can be who God wants you can be, to use all of your gifts and talents,” Buck said.
Buck said that God is calling all types of men to consider the priesthood, and he wants young men to pay attention to the call.
“You have to think to yourself, ‘Is God calling me to be a priest?’ and you begin to ask yourself that question, maybe you hear it in your heart,” he said. “We need courageous young men who will humbly lay down their life as servants and to be heroic priests.”
“It’s a great adventure, you’ll never have a boring day,” he said.
Buck participated in many activities and sports at Malvern, including the Malvern Theater Society, soccer, track, and wrestling. Buck was also a MECO leader.
“I can’t say I had a favorite subject, but just the entire experience was beneficial for my whole life.” Buck said. “The teachers, the friendships, the athletic program, the activities, it was just a phenomenal place to go to school.”
Buck says he sings often due to mass, and he credits Malvern’s music department with his abilities.
He said Malvern also gave him a work ethic and a desire to learn.
“I think Malvern gave me the opportunity to learn about so many different subject matters and to learn about the world and to learn about my faith, where the possibilities were really endless,” Buck said.
Buck said he is grateful for his experiences a Malvern. “I can’t thank them enough for what they gave me, I’ll probably always be indebted for all of it, I loved Malvern, I love Malvern,” he said.
Buck advised today’s Malvern students to pray every day. “There’s no reason not to,” he said.
He offered a blessing and hope for Malvern students.
“I hope a Malvern student of today is an authentic reflection of Jesus Christ in the world today,” Buck said. “That they become the best in whatever subject matter, athletic, or activity, and that in whatever they’re doing that they become a reflection of Jesus Christ in either that subject or activity or sport, and they make present Jesus Christ’s love in the world.”
CORRECTION: The print version of this story incorrectly states that Buck went to college while at seminary. He actually went to the Franciscan University of Steubenville before entering the seminary. The online version of this story has been changed to reflect this.