Find Bishop Zubik’s displays at: Catholic Charities Diocese of Pittsburgh, 212 Ninth Street; and Duquesne University.
“The very thing that I said that I did not want to do ended up being the most key moment of my life because it helped me to get ready for everything that’s come since then, including the present call. It turned my head to possibilities that I didn’t see, maybe couldn’t see, and in fact, didn’t even realize could be possible. That was God’s providence working to place me.”
I was nearing the time I was assigned and filled out a form. One of the questions asked, “What three assignments would you most appreciate in your priesthood? What three assignments would you least appreciate?” Number one for me was a city parish, number two was a suburban parish, number three was a rural parish. When it came to the three that I would prefer not to be a part of, number one was high school ministry, number two was high school ministry, number three was high school ministry.
Two years after I was ordained, Bishop Vincent Leonard called and said, “I want you to become principal of one our high schools.” I said, “Bishop, this is really catching me off guard.” I knew nothing about education at all. “But,” I said, “If that’s what you want me to do I’ll give it a try.” The next week was torture because I knew it wasn’t right. I knew I didn’t have the talents. I went back and said, “I’d like to beg for your understanding. Would you give me a more time in the parish?” He was very gracious and let me finish out my assignment at Sacred Heart Church in Shadyside.
Three years later he said, “I’d like you to still consider high school work.” At that point, I was ready. I was able to do was wrap my mind around how could I take the dream that I believed that God had for me as a priest in the parish and apply that to being in a high school, and see that as my parish. The very thing I said that I did not want to do ended up being the key moment of my life because it helped me to get ready for everything that’s come since then, including my present call. It turned my head to possibilities in my life that I didn’t see, maybe couldn’t see, and in fact, didn’t even realize could be possible.
My students taught me to let God rearrange perspectives. I worked with young people for 13 years in secondary education, and that prepared me for all the assignments that I’ve received since then. I see that clearly as the hand of God. Everything that happens to me in my life has a specific purpose in God’s mind and heart, even for the future.