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Deacon Daniel Hess

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May 17, 2011

By David Eck

When Deacon Hess was a senior at Franciscan University in Steubenville, he was planning to attend law school at the University of Notre Dame but was also seriously considering the seminary.


Deacon Daniel Hess (CT photo/E.L. Hubbard)

He spoke to a priest about the priesthood and prayed about it but in the end felt peace about his plans. He felt that he had given “the call” a chance and began mapping out his life. 


He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Franciscan University, began law school and became involved in a relationship. He expected to marry, begin a family, possibly do pro-life work and use his law degree for the greater good. Deacon Hess thought a call to the priesthood was behind him.


“It came back,” he said. “I had a restlessness about the priesthood and seminary.”


At Notre Dame, Deacon Hess attended daily Mass and worked in a residence hall as an assistant rector. One priest was his immediate supervisor and another priest in law school was a mentor. He was able to see how the life and work of priests connected with his own desires to serve and do something meaningful.


“It was a time of seeing how priests have an opportunity to serve  in different ways,” Deacon Hess said. “It resonated with who I was.”


Although he was halfway through law school, he realized he needed to give the seminary a try. After graduation and the Ohio bar exam, he entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary that fall.
While still uncertain about the priesthood, he wanted to give a full effort in the seminary to allow God to show him one way or another. The restlessness he had experienced ended once he began formation. There were occasional days of struggle, Deacon Hess said, but he never doubted that the seminary was where God wanted him to be.


His parents, Kevin and Carol, fostered his faith in his childhood and youth, and his family, which includes five younger sisters, was supportive of his decision to become a priest.


A Dayton native who was raised in Coldwater, Deacon Hess served his internship at St. Albert the Great Parish in Kettering. He enjoyed the hands-on experience of parish life.


As a priest, he hopes to use his own calling to help young people see how faith is dynamic and personal in their own lives. He is looking forward to the personal relationships he can develop as a spiritual father.


“It’s being in the trenches with people day in and day out,” Deacon Hess said. “It’s being there in the good times and bad. I think it’s so essential that we as priests are reliable sources of God’s truth and God’s love. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share God in times when He’s needed most.”


Deacon Hess will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving May 22 at 3 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church in Coldwater. He will also celebrate Mass on May 28 at 4:30 p.m. at St. Albert the Great Church in Kettering.


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