Name: Michael and Jennifer Witt, parents of Alexander Witt
How many children are in your family? Are all members of your family Catholic?
We have four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. All are Catholic.
Were you raised in a Catholic family? How has that affected your support of your son?
Both of us were raised in Catholic families. This has given us a positive perspective of priests and their role in a community’s faith life.
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?
We felt that a calling to the priesthood is a special vocational calling that is very special. At first we were concerned that Alexander was too young to pursue his calling, but after a year of college we encouraged him to go where he felt called.
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 feel very positive about how he has fit into Bishop Brute’ seminary’s community. I think we were worried that he would be out there on his own, but the college seminary life has been very positive for him.
How has his call affected your family life? How has it impacted your own relationship with Christ and the Church?
When Alexander came home from college this summer, he started attending daily mass at home. Over the summer his mother joined him many days. As summer wore down, his father also joined in. This has continued and has made us both feel much closer to our church and Christ.
As a priest, your son will never have a wife and children of his own. Likewise, you will not have the joy of loving grandchildren from him. What have been your thoughts regarding this issue?
Alexander will have many spiritual children. At a certain level, we feel that we will be adopting those spiritual children in our prayers.
As you go through this experience, what would you say to a parent who just found out their son is trying to discern if God’s calling him to the priesthood?
I think the best one can say of any child’s calling is that their child needs to pursue what they feel called to do. This will lead to happiness and joy in their life. This is true of any vocation, not just the priesthood.
What things about his home life do you think helped inspire your son to be open to God’s call? What advice would you give to a parent who wants to encourage their son(s) to consider priesthood as a real possibility for their lives? What would you say to those parents who might strongly oppose their son becoming a priest?
We have always been a mass oriented family in our nuclear family and in our extended family. Most things we do together have mass involved somewhere in the mix. Parents should always be understanding of what their adult children feel they need to do in their lives. I would encourage parents to encourage their children to listen to God’s voice regarding religious vocations. To parents who oppose, I would suggest, in a similar way, that they should be open to all avenues that their son feel called to pursue.