Holy Name Roman Catholic Church

Listening to God's Whisper . . .


Father Matthew Reese 


I was born on July 20, 1976 in Mercy Hospital in Johnstown, exactly one year before the third Johnstown flood occurred.  I grew up in the village of Vinco with my parents, Dennis and Betty, and my brother Christopher, who is 3 years older than myself.

My first memory of thinking about the priesthood was around the age of four.  My earliest memories of attending Mass were also at the same age. I remember being at my home parish of St. John Vianney in Mundy’s Corner watching my pastor Fr. James Quinn offer Mass.   The way he conducted himself during Mass led me to recognize that this prayer was important, although I did not really understand it.  This was the seed, and as anyone knows, seeds need to be nurtured in order to grow and become what they are meant to be.

It took a long time to pay attention to the seeds that were planted within me. Like a lot of young people, I strayed from being active in my faith. I stopped going to Mass and every other sacrament. Oddly though, I still attended CCD during this time.  Therefore, in my life, a window of opportunity was still open allowing the possibility of God’s grace to stir the seeds He planted within me.  This opportunity started to take shape when I began the Confirmation process.

This time in my life, of course, coincided with my preparations for life after High School.  I had absolutely no idea of what to do in life.  Then I received advice to offer prayer in the morning and again at night. Prayer was rather foreign to me, and so I wasn’t even sure about how to pray. Therefore, my prayer was rather simple and to the point, “Lord, I don’t know what I should be doing in life. Please tell me.” Answers to prayers are not necessarily direct, yet I had hoped that somehow the answer, when it came, would be blunt.

One day my dad reminded me that I had thought about the priesthood when I was young, and he asked me whether or not I had given it any more thought.  On another occasion, a visiting priest, whom I had met on several occasions before, came to offer Mass at my parish for my pastor who happened to be ill that Sunday.  He said to me after Mass, “You should go to the seminary.”  I could not ignore these “answers” to my prayer.  I did continue to pray, but I also began searching for more information about the priesthood and the seminary.

I graduated from High School in June of 1994 and entered College Seminary two months later in August of 1994.  I studied in College Seminary for four years and then in the Major Seminary for four years before being ordained a priest May 11, 2002 at the age of 25.  One piece of advice I received when I began was that someone does not enter the seminary to become a priest as much as he enters to discern whether or not he is supposed to be a priest.  Ultimately, it is God’s call, and we are given the choice to respond “yes or no.”

If you have ever thought about the priesthood and would like to talk about it, I am available at 472-7244.


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