Family: Parents, John and Jeanne; siblings Emily, Dan and Will
Home parish: Immaculate Heart of Mary in St. Louis
Education: Immaculate Heart of Mary; St. Mary’s High School; Cardinal Glennon College Seminary; Kenrick School of Theology
The call: After a youth Mass at St. Mary Magdalen Church in St. Louis, a 16-year-old Jonathan Ruzicka went to confession. In that moment, he was inspired by the personal zeal and holiness of the priest who had heard his confession. As he prayed his penance, he felt a “still, small voice” inviting him to do the same for others.
He was invigorated by the thought of being a conduit of God’s mercy for those who are suffering and doubt their worth in God’s eyes. When he visited the seminary, “I felt at home and the desire only continued to grow. I received an application during my senior year of high school — and the rest is history.”
Father Ruzicka said he’s most looking forward to the reality of being a spiritual father and to be entrenched into the life of a parish and to know the people of God and accompany them, both in their high and low points of life, and to preach God’s faithfulness to them. “That’s what the priesthood is,” he said, “a witness to God’s faithful, merciful love.”
He sees hope in the faithfulness of God, both on a personal level and in the lives of others. “The priest is that person who descends into people’s darkness, without being overcome by it,” he said. “And they’re able go into the mess of people’s lives and bring the peace and bring the truth of Christ. That should give us tremendous hope, that God is still providing His people with these men — these priests — to go into the depths of human misery, the darkness of each human heart that we all have, and to bring light and to bring truth” of Christ.