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Seminarian and veteran: Williams spent 4 years on nuclear sub

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Deacon Jason Williams is shown during his time in the U.S. Navy. The seminarian will be ordained to the priesthood next spring, God willing. (Courtesy Photo/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary)
Deacon Jason Williams is shown during his time in the U.S. Navy. The seminarian will be ordained to the priesthood next spring, God willing. (Courtesy Photo/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary)

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary

Before entering the seminary, Jason Williams was part of the team that ran and maintained the nuclear reactor on a fast attack submarine.

“Even though all of the world looks the same from behind a control panel, it was still fascinating work. Yet as much as I enjoyed it, ultimately I felt a higher calling,” said the 33-year-old deacon studying to become a priest for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Jason and nine other seminarians are to be ordained in the spring of 2016, God willing.

“I never thought much about becoming a priest while growing up,” explained the native of Massillon, Ohio. “Right out of high school, I enlisted in the Navy because I wanted to do something different from the standard, go to college, go into debt, and get a job. Since I always liked math and science, I enlisted in one of the Navy’s engineering programs and spent four years working on a submarine. I figured it would be the beginning of a stunning military career; God had other plans.”

A close-knit community of 130 men shared small quarters and big responsibilities on the sub. Jason was sent to school for two years in Charleston, South Carolina, and then assigned as a reactor operator on the USS Hartford (SSN 768) stationed out of New London, Connecticut. During his four years as a crew member of the submarine, Jason participated in two major deployments. Through it all, Jason faithfully kept going to Mass on Sundays while in port and took advantage of the Catholic Communion Services while out to sea.

“People saw that going to Mass was important to me, so they started asking me questions about the faith,” he recalled. “I didn’t always know the answers, and I began reading. The more I read the more I fell in love with Christ and the Church.”

Then one day, a chaplain planted the seed of a vocation asking if Jason ever seriously considered the priesthood.

Read the rest of Deacon Williams story at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary website.

Posted Nov. 12, 2015

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