Another amazing vocation story about a married man about to be ordained to the priesthood:
Deacon Drake McCalister is many things that most men about to become Catholic priests are not.
McCallister is 50 years old; the average age of men being ordained as Catholic priests in the U.S. this year is 33.
He is a husband and a father of five; most men about to become priests will promise never to marry, and will never have biological children.
He is a former Pentecostal preacher and Catholic convert; 89% of men about to be ordained were baptized Catholics as infants, according to data from CARA, a research center at Georgetown University.
“Why do you need to be a priest?” McCalister said he is asked many times, sometimes even from leaders in the Church.
“I don’t,” McCalister told CNA. “My only desire is to be obedient to Jesus Christ, period.” And McCalister believes that Jesus has called him to the priesthood.
It’s not the first time the Lord has asked him to do something radical, he said.
McCalister’s long and winding vocation story begins in his early 20s, when he, as a young Pentecostal, asked the Lord in prayer what he should do with his life. After high school, McCalister had started working; the idea of college just hadn’t appealed to him. But after a few years, he knew it was time to seek God’s plan.
“I was always ministry-minded,” he said. “I walked into a prayer meeting asking God: ‘What do you want me to do?’ And as clear as the Lord has ever told me anything in my life, it was there during that prayer session that the Lord made it clear: ‘Get equipped for full-time ministry and give me the rest of your life.’”
“So I literally walked out of that room with a singular purpose,” McCalister said. He knew the call was from God, he added, because he found himself suddenly excited to go to college to get a theology degree – something that had never been part of his own plans.
Had McCalister been Catholic at the time, he told CNA, he would have become a priest – he was young, unmarried and childless at the time. But since he was not Catholic, “I went on with life and got married and had some kids,” he said.
After getting a theology degree, McCalister began a 13-year stint of Pentecostal ministry, becoming a youth minister, then a music minister and director, then an associate pastor, and finally the senior pastor of a church. He started his ministry in California, but moved to Seattle after about 4 years, where the rest of his Pentecostal ministry took place.