Name: Steve and Debbie Feist, parents of Matt Feist
How many children are in your family? Are all members of your family Catholic?
We have two sons Matt & Chris and two daughters Becky & Angela and a granddaughter Madalyn. They all practice their Catholic faith.
Were you raised in a Catholic family? How has that affected your support of your son?
My wife and I were raised Catholic, and our support for him will always be there because we love the faith and try to continue to learn more.
When you first learned your son was considering becoming a priest, what were the positive feelings that came from that news? What were the things you were concerned about?
I think we have always known that Matt would be called to some religious life but didn’t know which one. We have always prayed for all of our children to know what vocation God was calling them to. When Matt was born his Grandmother looked up his name and birth date in the bible. (Matthew 3:17) And a voice from heaven, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” Well what we were concerned about is his studies, because Matt never took school too seriously. We know that God is in control and we pray for his will.
What has been the biggest positive surprise that has come from your son being called to the priesthood? What fears do you have for him?
We didn’t have any surprises because Matt had always worked well with the youth. I believe that he received the call at a young age because I remember when we attended Sunday Mass, Matt would check to see if Father needed servers and he would let Matt serve. So Matt served Mass almost every Sunday. Our parish priest for twelve years was Father John Fisher and he has been a big supporter for Matt.
How has his call affected your family life? How has it impacted your own relationship with Christ and the Church?
We have a lot of family and friends that are excited that he is in the seminary and are praying for him. We have always told our children that God has to come first in their lives and everything else will fall into place. If we don’t have priest to consecrate the host, we wouldn’t have the true presence of Jesus in our churches.
How have your friends and relatives reacted to the news that your son is becoming a priest? What positive reactions were there? Any negative reactions?
Our friends have supported Matt ever since they found out he was entering the seminary. We had t-shirts made up that read “Pray For A Seminarian, Matthew 3:17,” “And a voice from heaven, ?This is my beloved son, with whom I am will pleased.'” We had about twenty people wear these at a Mass where Father gave Matt a blessing the week before he entered the seminary. It is all of our support for vocations and encouragement that will keep the youth listening for God’s call. Families have more doubt than anyone, even Jesus wasn’t looked upon favorably in his home land.
Have there been any specific issues regarding the Church that have made you worry about your son’s vocation? How have you dealt with those anxieties?
We don’t have any issues regarding the Church. We try to give all our worries to the Lord, because Jesus has promised us that he will always be with us.