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Deacon Charles S. Wright

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May 17, 2011

By David Eck

In second grade Deacon Wright was asked to illustrate what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he drew a picture of a priest. The seed might have been planted early, but it took years for it to bloom.


 Deacon Charles S. Wright (CT photo/E.L.Hubbard)

Growing up in St. Peter Parish in Huber Heights, Deacon Wright, 27, forgot about the priesthood and developed an interest in science and physics. He expected to spend his life as a scientist, so he took a volunteer position at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, a local science museum, while still in high school.


“I really thought that’s what the Lord was calling me to,” Deacon Wright said. “I didn’t realize when I was doing that job that I was refining skills I’ll use in the priesthood, like public speaking and [presentations].”


As a high school student he visited Miami University and the University of Dayton as potential places for undergraduate study. But something didn’t feel right, and he decided to visit the Pontifical College Josephinum, a college seminary in Columbus. Thoughts of the priesthood resurfaced.


 “When I stepped on campus there, I really realized I felt like I was at home,” he remembered.


He began studies at the Josephinum with the intention of staying a year just to discern a possible call.


“I fell in love with it. I went with an open heart, and the Lord just showed me my path for life,” Deacon Wright said. “I studied with guys who were committed Catholics and committed to discerning if the priesthood was a calling in their life. It was the perfect mix to discern a vocation. It really allowed you to listen to the call of the Lord and not be distracted with all the other things in the world.”


He earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the Josephinum but still kept up with the science world. In the summer between college graduation and beginning formation at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Deacon Wright was invited to participate in a NASA program that included three weeks of intensive training at a facility in Houston.


“That was the vocation confirmation for me,” he said. “I was hanging upside down and eating M&Ms in zero gravity and knew that there was something else I was being called to do.”


He’s looking forward to celebrating the sacraments and walking the faith journey with a parish community. Deacon Wright wants to share their high moments like baptisms and weddings; he also knows parishioners need the most support at funerals. He completed his internship at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Monfort Heights.


Deacon Wright credits several things with triggering his call during high school. His father, Deacon Charles O. Wright, was finishing studies for the permanent diaconate before his 2001 ordination and brought his son to the see the seminary.


His years at Carroll High School in Dayton also helped foster his vocation through vocations fairs and priests and religious as speakers.


 “They really create a pro-vocation culture at Carroll,” he said. “If you are discerning priesthood, it’s not something foreign, it’s just something that every Catholic male should think about.”


The Wright family also includes his mother, Constance; his brother, Brandon; and his sister, Kelsey.


Deacon Wright will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving on May 22 at 11 a.m. at St. Peter Parish, and on May 29  at 10:15 a.m. at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish.

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