Priesthood is about Christ and service, says newly ordained Father Brett Metzler
FORT WORTH — “Be still and know that I am God.”
Those words from Psalm 46:10 continue to resonate with Father Brett Metzler after being ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fort Worth May 22.
Ordained a transitional deacon last March along with five other men, the former St. Mark parishioner said the psalm’s comforting message helped him cope with the stress and uncertainty of the past year.
“Serving as a deacon during these times, you realize everyone is suffering and has the same kind of struggles,” observed Fr. Metzler, who felt the strain of isolation caused by the current health crisis. “People are worried.”
Watching infection and death rates soar forced the 28-year-old to understand his vocation in a new way.
“What I’ve learned the most from this year is the priesthood isn’t fundamentally about me but about Christ,” he explained. “The priesthood is about serving. It’s about Christ and His Church and its people. COVID, in a very particular way, showed me that.”
A graduate of Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Denton and Liberty Christian Academy, Metzler entered the seminary after completing his freshman year at Texas A&M University. The decision to study for the priesthood surprised his parents, Tammy and Mike Metzler, who initially urged him to finish college first.
“In a letter he told us he prayed and was going to daily Mass at St. Mary’s at A&M and just really felt a calling to the priesthood,” his mother recalled.
Father Kyle Walterscheid, who was the diocesan vocation director at the time, helped the family navigate the application process. Months later, the Metzlers drove their 19-year-old son to St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, Louisiana, to begin his formation.
“The minute we drove over the bridge and onto the grounds of this beautiful seminary, it felt right,” Tammy Metzler added. “This pastoral, peaceful, holy place made the transition from A&M easier. Brett was home.”
Fr. Metzler most recently attended the Theological College seminary at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he completed a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology (STB) and will return to the campus July 1 to earn a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL).
“I’ll be writing on the virtue of hope all next year,” the Denton native explained.
During his time as a transitional deacon, Fr. Metzler baptized 12 babies — including his niece Ayla Joan Holland — and assisted the pastor at Nuestra Señora Reina de las Americas (Our Lady Queen of the Americas) in Washington, D.C.
“It’s an exclusively Spanish-speaking parish so I did a lot of preaching in Spanish,” he continued. “That was very challenging in the beginning, but it helped my fluency.”
Fr. Metzler is excited “to just be available to people as a priest. I’ve done ministry as a seminarian and deacon, but as a priest, there’s a special spiritual father role you take on. That includes the sacraments, confession, and the Mass.” Fr. Metzler received his first opportunity to do just that the day after his ordination, when he celebrated his first Mass at St. Mark Church in Denton.
He is also looking forward to reaching out to the sick and elderly,
“I really loved hospital ministry,” disclosed the priest, who visited young patients and their families at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas one summer as part of his seminarian training. “Bringing Christ to the suffering and confusion in people’s lives was extremely rewarding. It’s difficult work but important to bring the mercy of Jesus to people.”
Fr. Metzler is grateful to his family and others who supported him with their prayers, friendship, kind words, and letters during his vocation journey.
“It makes a big difference to know we are not doing this alone. To know people are praying for us is so helpful,” he acknowledged. “I’m also thankful for the priests in the diocese who supported me with dinners and lunches, and the bishop, who always helps and encourages us.”
Editor's note: This article was updated June 4, 2021.