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Fr. David Michael Moses fills us with hope in this revealing interview

Fr David Michael Moses

Courtesy of Fr David Michael Moses

Cerith Gardiner - published on 03/27/23

You may be familiar with Fr. David Michael Moses -- a young priest on a mission to share his faith through digital media with contagious joy, good humor, and genuine love for others.

We’ve reported on Fr. David Michael Moses “sabotaging” his friend’s wedding, and how he uses the kitchen to inspire others in boosting their spiritual life. While he readily shares his experiences on social media, we wanted to get to know more about this energetic priest, and hear how his youth, modern outlook, and passions can serve the Church for years to come.

You recently left your first assignment in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and were moved to a different parish. How was that transition?

It’s crazy to me that I showed up at my first parish, St. Faustina, as a 25-year-old and, from
day one, everyone called me “Father.” Could there be a more intimate way to address someone?

They didn’t know me, they hadn’t seen my grades, they just called me “Father,” because Jesus had sent me to them. And if I was good enough for Jesus, then I was good enough for them. It was extraordinary. After my three years there, it was certainly hard to say goodbye, but I felt so much peace and am so grateful to have been so intimately received into their lives.

My new parishioners at Christ the Good Shepherd have been incredibly kind and welcoming.
I think it is invaluable for a young priest to see another way of doing things at a new parish, so I’m thankful for this opportunity. I’ll likely only be here for two to three years, so I’m trying to make the most of it. However, ultimately, as a pastor (the lead priest), I’ll stay at parishes six or more years, which I think is important for being able to form and shepherd a community.

What is the best part of being a priest? What has been the most positive surprise?

The best part of being a priest is having the responsibility of acting in Persona Christi, the
Person of Christ, for your people. Ultimately, being a priest means that I am so closely conformed to Jesus Christ, that when I say, “This is my Body,” it becomes His Body. When I say, “I absolve you,” Jesus forgives sin. He and I are so close now, that I speak for Him. I say it, and He does it, every single time. The most positive surprise is how exciting ministry is. Every day is different, so there is always a new adventure.

What is the hardest part of being a priest? Do you ever have days when you want to quit your job? After all, many people have this feeling about their jobs every day!

I don’t have qualms about saying that the hardest part of being a priest is celibacy … and I
believe it’s supposed to be that way. The desire to get married was strong throughout seminary — second only to my desire to serve God. And to me, that isn’t sad, it’s beautiful, because me choosing to be celibate should be a sign to everyone I meet that I’m clearly not living for this world.

Thankfully, I’ve never doubted my vocation, but are there moments when other things look
simpler? Of course. But really, that’s the value of commitment: Do what you said you would do even when the feelings aren’t there anymore. The moments I’m tempted to take an easier route are really opportunities I’m given to love.

You mention celibacy. What’s your approach to living celibacy well in today’s world?

Celibacy was something we talked a lot about in seminary, instilling in me a healthy
awareness of relational dynamics and good boundaries, which have kept me out of encountering a situation that could be uncomfortable or compromising.

My approach to purity is always “I don’t know how strong I am, and I don’t intend to find out.” In other words, I never want to be in a situation where sin is even an option. Ultimately, I always try to reinforce in myself and in those around me what the nature of my
presence should be: that of a spiritual father.

Do you get fed up wearing a collar all the time? And a young reader wanted to know if you have special pajamas with clerical collars. It could become a thing!!

I actually love wearing the priestly collar and even my cassock because, when people see it,
they think of Jesus and His Church. I love when people in public ask, “Are you a priest?”
When I was first ordained, I would simply answer the question “Yes.” But after a couple of
years, I’ve learned that, in reality, they usually aren’t just wondering if I’m a priest. When they ask, “Are you a priest?” what they really mean is “Can you help me?” And if I wasn’t wearing a collar — whom could they have asked? “I’m looking for something more in life.” Now, I cherish those moments.

It’s true that I keep a full schedule, but I always love when people in public say hi. I’m always
willing to give someone a blessing at the grocery store. I always want to pray with people at a
restaurant. I’m always eager to hear a quick confession at the airport. I love being a priest. I love my people. This is what I live for.

And unfortunately, I just wear normal PJs, but that young reader might be onto something!

Fr David Michael Moses

Do you have a favorite sacrament?

I have a deep love for all of the sacraments, but my favorite has to be the Eucharist. And the
reason is simple: The other sacraments bring us Jesus, but the Eucharist is Jesus.

Do you have a favorite saint?

Right now, I’m looking the most to St. John Vianney, because he is the patron saint of parish
priests. The first parish he was assigned to was in a town of 200 people and only two people were coming to Mass. After so many years in seminary, he had to have been disappointed: “This is it God? I gave up my life for this?” It would have been easy for him to focus elsewhere … Start writing books. Get really good at golf. Ask the bishop to reassign him. But, instead, he prayed every night, “God, convert my parish. I am willing to suffer all my life, even 100 years of the sharpest pains, only let my people be converted.”

He went all in: 18 hours a day in Confession, ate mostly potatoes, slept on cold, hard floor.
Suddenly, he had 100,000 people coming to his parish annually … People would wait days to
see him.

That kind of dedication to the salvation of souls is the reason he’s a saint. I’ve started saying
his prayer every day and I hope I can become just a sliver of who he was.

As a younger priest, what do you think you can bring to your parishioners?

Maybe the best way to answer this question is to speak about my friends who are young
priests. There’s a group of five of us, all about my age, who have breakfast together every few
weeks at IHOP at 6 a.m. (it’s the only time we’re all available). It’s a blast. These guys are prayerful, and charitable and hilarious.

The world is crazy right now, but whenever I start to feel bad about the way things are going,
I just think of those guys. I think of the fact that, out of everything they could have done, they chose this. They left it all behind because they care about souls. And now, every week, they’re hearing confessions, and saying Mass, and anointing the sick. And they will spend the rest of their lives dedicated to doing that. There’s a lot of darkness in the world, but these guys are a light. I think that’s what a young priest can bring.

You have also embraced social media to spread God’s word with a lot of joy, humor, and love. How do you find the time, and the ideas? And what would you say to parents anxious about their kids being on social media today?

I like to compare social media to a bad neighborhood. A bad neighborhood is a risky place to
be. It’s dangerous. But there should be a Catholic Church in every bad neighborhood. There should be a priest in every bad neighborhood.

I think it’s the same with social media. It’s dangerous, but the Church should be there. Jesus
commanded us to go to all nations, and I think social media can be a powerful tool in doing that. It’s particularly powerful because, in ministry, I’m limited by time and space. However,
digitally, I can preach a homily once, record and post it online, and have that homily “keep going” indefinitely.

That said, it’s not for everyone, so I would recommend parents keep their kids off of social
media until they’re older, or at least monitor its usage closely.

The ideas usually come naturally from ministry. When something funny or interesting happens, I write it down, then look through the list later.

In terms of time, I have someone who uploads the posts for me. I actually spend very little
time on social media. My real focus is my parish ministry.

Would you like to tell us about some of your favorite projects? We know you’ve been involved in putting on pro-life concerts, and there’s also your Pilgrim Rosary!

A major project right now is training the altar servers at my parish! But, maybe more relevant to readers, I’m currently writing a book about discerning God’s will, which should be out by August. I also have a 10-part series on daily life as a priest coming out on my YouTube channel in a few months and I’m writing some new songs for the annual Concert for Life in July, for which we’re expecting over 2,000 people.

Fr David Michael Moses concert for life

Finally, my latest project, the Pilgrim Rosary, is going very well. The idea is simple: A person
prays with the rosary, scans the unique QR code fixed to the beads, then logs their location on their phone (becoming its Founder). They then pass it on to a friend (a Pilgrim), who does the same. Founders and Pilgrims can then check the website to see their rosaries travel around the world. We’ve sold over 1,700 so far and are currently back-ordered, but we’ll be getting a new shipment soon. Readers can check out pilgrimrosary.com if they’re interested.

What do you do to switch off?

Well, I never switch off from being a priest, just from active ministry. I obviously like writing
music and making videos, but also love riding my family’s horse, sailing, rock-climbing, working out, hunting, one wheeling, playing basketball and just spending time with family and friends.

We reported on your egg hack for an improved prayer life. The burning question is, can you actually cook?

I do most of my meal prep at the altar (laughs). Outside of that, I’m not the best!

[Link to the hack at the bottom of the interview]

On a more personal level, would you mind sharing how your parents felt when you told them you wanted to join the priesthood?

I remember floating the idea to my mom one evening and she responded, with genuine
motherly concern, “Do you think you’ll be happy?” Of course, even then, I knew it wasn’t about that, but I appreciated her care for me.

My dad’s response was more confusing. I told him what I was thinking about, and he paused
for a second, looked off into the distance, then said, “I always wanted a son who was a priest… but I really didn’t want it to be you.”

I just recently asked what he meant by that and his answer surprised me. He said, “Of course, I always wanted a son who was a priest, but I wanted you to know it didn’t have to be you. I wanted you to know it had to be totally your choice. I wanted to make sure that you were free.”

My parents were an incredible balance of supportive, but not pressuring, all throughout my
time in seminary. I could not be more grateful.

I’ve seen a video of you spending time with your young nephew. What do you feel you can bring to your own family as a priest? And do you get enough time to see them?

Thankfully, I get to see my family at least every couple of weeks. I think I’ve grown even
closer with them since I became a priest. It’s always a blast being together. My little nephew’s
newest game is sneakily pulling out my collar and then hiding it, so I have to go find it.
I hope I help them spiritually and I know they help me: I get most of my homily ideas from my nieces!

And finally, what do you think are the challenges that lie ahead for you and the Catholic Church in the years to come? And are you hopeful?

The immediate challenge seems to be the continued attack on truth and on all those who
uphold it. The demonic agenda of confusing people about what life is, what marriage is, what male and female are, is gaining a lot of ground.

Of course, we expect this opposition from the world. What’s hard is when we hear confusion
from inside the Church. And yet, I always think of the reality that Jesus picked 12 Apostles, and one of them ended up betraying Him. Was Jesus surprised by this? Of course not. He knew who He was choosing. He was sending a pretty clear signal to all of us that the shortcomings of someone in the Church aren’t a reason to leave. Despite the Judases of today, Jesus demands fidelity. That will be the greatest challenge for Catholics going forward: faithfulness.

And yet, I’m incredibly confident about the future. I had a moment at our priestly ordinations this past year. I saw all of my classmates who had been ordained recently, sitting around me. I then saw the men who were being ordained priests that day. I then saw the young men serving as deacons, who would become priests the next year. I then saw the guys serving the Mass, who were all in the seminary. Then I saw the group of guys who were about to start priestly formation sitting at the front, one of whom I had sponsored for Confirmation. All of these guys are so solid. Men of prayer, men of Mary, orthodox, faithful. And they were choosing this path for their lives.

The devil is all about chaos, but the army God is forming now is meticulously organized, with
a singular focus: the salvation of souls.

To every challenge the church has ever faced, the Holy Spirit has responded in the same
way: by sending another generation of faithful priests.

Am I hopeful? Oh yeah. We’re going to win this thing. In fact, we already have.

Tags:
HopeInterviewsPriests
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