Year for Priests at 601 S. Jefferson Ave., Springfield, MO 65806 US - Rev. David Miller Ordained November 27, 1981
Rev. David Miller
Ordained November 27, 1981
Are you talking to me?
When I reflect upon the various moments in my life, I must begin at an awakening during my 13th year. Somehow, I felt my faith life incomplete, so I began my God quest. That may seem a bit young to many people, but not for this Springfield boy.
The harder I tried to consider other faiths, the more I was pulled into the Roman Catholic Church. Even though my family was open to my being Catholic, there was no encouragement. In fact, to go to Sunday Mass I needed to walk one and one-half miles to the bus stop. But that did not bother me as I did join the Church by the end of my junior year of high school. I was baptized in St. Agnes Cathedral. My family and a few friends were there as well.
During my high school years, I did ponder as what to do with my life: I wanted to be a teacher. After a year of college I joined a religious order of teaching brothers. While I loved teaching, it was not enough. Something was missing. Again, God was calling me to another aspect of ministry.
I returned to Springfield and completed my teaching certification for the State of Missouri. I did apply for the Peace Corps. While waiting for a response, I went to the South Pacific to teach in American Samoa. During the second year, I was on the beach one day. I could not help but see the deep blue sky, feel the surf tickling my toes, sense the warm tropical breeze wafting over my body. A couple of island girls walked by, and I said, “There’s got to be more to life than this.” Then, it hit me. I thought, “Lord, are you talking to me?” It was at that moment that I realized I was to be a priest.
After my education in Chicago and Dallas, I was ordained a priest in Lebanon, MO. One parishioner asked if it was a problem for my family for me to become a priest. The answer is no, it was harder for them that I had become a Catholic. By the way, I am closer to my family now than I ever was as a youth.
I have been so fortunate in ministry because I get to meet marvelous people. They energize me. Also, my horizons continue to broaden, as I get to meet people from all over the world coming to southern Missouri.
Ministry is a continuing calling, not only for me but for all of us, to be open to the wonderful opportunities. As I see myself and others in priesthood, we are simply vehicles of God’s grace. What a ride grace is! I have the honor and opportunity to be agent for change, be it sacramental, social, community building, confronting bigotry or racism. That has led me to all types of situations, be they in homes, in businesses, in hospitals and schools, jails, courts, clinics, as the Church must be there for the people of God.
In all of these endeavors, I still hear God quietly talking, saying, “You could be better,” or “Take a rest,” or “There will be another day.” There is no end to the needs of people, and it has been a great adventure for me to be a small part of God’s action in the world.
I am glad that I chose to listen when God was speaking to me.
Fr. Miller is the pastor of St. Edward Parish, Cassville, and Holy Family Parish, Shell Knob.