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Ordination profile: Deacon Eric Roush

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The men scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood May 21 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati responded to questions from The Catholic Telegraph to profile their background and journey to the priesthood. TheCatholicTelegraph.com published profiles each day this week leading up to ordination.

Deacon Eric Roush

Deacon Eric Roush.
Deacon Eric Roush.

Parents: Phillip and the late Susan Roush; siblings: two older brothers (Christopher, Brian) and one younger brother (Andrew). All are married with children.

Home parish: St. Monica-St. George, Clifton. Internship Parish: St. Margaret of York, Loveland.

Education includes: master of divinity, Mount St. Mary Seminary of the West; master of biblical studies, Athenaeum of Ohio; master of education, Xavier University, secondary education, social studies; master of arts, Xavier University, theology; bachelor of arts, Miami University, Oxford, history, political science.

• What was the process that led you to pursue the priesthood? 

The process leading to the priesthood begins, for every man, with God’s call. Listening to His voice in Scripture and noticing His movements in the events of my life continued to draw me closer to discovering and embracing His will for my life. In college, after I went through RCIA and became Catholic, I noticed that I was attracted to being a reader at Mass and distributing holy Communion as an extraordinary minister. Noticing that my peers in Catholic campus ministry were not also naturally drawn to serve in this way, I began to wonder why I found it so compelling. This began my journey toward becoming a servant of the Word and the altar, essential to the identity of a Catholic priest.

• What has the journey been like as you neared ordination? 

My service as a deacon — in seminary, at my internship parish, and throughout the archdiocese — has been tremendously affirming. I am confident in the Lord’s call. My ongoing challenge, which is common to all Christians, is to follow Jesus by daily taking up the cross, trust ever more deeply in the Lord’s mercy, and love others when and as He wills.

• Was there a single person who greatly influenced your decision to become a priest? 

There was no single person but instead a good number of priestly witnesses: Father Terry Schneider, pastor at St. Mary’s in Oxford while I was at Miami University; Father John Ferone, SJ; Father Greg Friedman, OFM; Father Al Hirt, OFM, pastor St. Monica-St. George; Father Nicholas Lombardo, OP; Father Michael Dosch, OP. If I had to name just one person, it would be Father Anthony Brausch, who was completing his pastoral internship at St. Mary in Oxford during my senior year in college.

• What message would you offer to those who want to serve God but do now know how? 

Step 1: Look up the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Step 2: Pick one that resonates with you. Step 3: Think about the people in your life that need to receive this gift of mercy. Step 4: Ask the Lord in prayer for the grace to be an ambassador of His mercy. Step 5: Give the gift of mercy.

• How has being a deacon (or your practical internship) influenced the type of priest that you will be? 

One of the great interior struggles with being a pastoral intern, and even a deacon, is the inability to respond to situations in the parish that call for a priest. As a priest, I pray that I will respond with a generous heart to all those such situations remembering that longing in the past when I was not able to do so. Ultimately, I want to live every day as a priest out of profound gratitude for this holy vocation to which the Lord has called me.

• What advice would you offer about discerning a vocation? 

I would give the same advice that Archbishop Schnurr gives: spend time in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Also, when doing vocations talks in area schools, I always tell the kids to spend quiet time in prayer listening for the answer after asking God this question: “Lord, what do you want me to do with my life?”

• What will you miss most about your seminary preparation time? What will you value most? 

Of all the blessings of seminary formation, I will miss living in a community of men who are dedicating their hearts to the Lord’s service. I look forward to continued growth within such a community of support and encouragement in the presbyterate of the Archdiocese, but there is a tangible difference in turning to help from someone who lives in the room next door rather than the next parish over. From seminary formation I will value most the friendships that I have made there.

• What types of jobs have you had? 

In chronological order from high school: dishwasher, Country Kitchen; Office Supply Warehouse – order fulfillment, furniture delivery; Goodwill thrift store – sorter, clerk; Congressional Intern (summer), Congressman Ralph Regula (R., OH), U.S. House of Representatives; Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority – summer intern, local history project; graduate assistant, Center for Adult and Part-time Students, Xavier University; substitute teacher, Marysville Exempted Village School District; standardized test scorer (temp), Pearson Education Measurement; academic advisor, Xavier University.

• What sort of extracurricular activities did you enjoy in college? 

Catholic campus ministry; retreats, service projects, Bible study, Golden Key International Honors society, service projects.

Other Profiles (Date published)
Deacon Chris Geiger (May 16)
Deacon Sean Wilson (May 16)
Deacon Timothy Fahey (May 17)
Deacon Jason Williams (May 17)
Deacon Alex McCullough (May 18)
Deacon Matt Feist (May 19)

Outside the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Deacons Reagan, Bertke and Smith (May 20)

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