Take 5 with Father: Trusting the action of God
HE IS: Father Jim Angert, TOR, pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Arlington since 2018.
GROWING UP: He grew up with nine sisters and four brothers in a small town in western Pennsylvania where people were farmers, steel workers, or coal miners. “A very Catholic area,” he said, where “every family was, so to speak, poor, but on the other hand, we were rich in friendships.”
In second grade, he had the opportunity at his Catholic school to learn to be an altar server, but it meant giving up recess. He tried for two days, but the playground ultimately won.
He still enjoys active pastimes like downhill skiing, tennis, cycling, and walking.
THE CALL: One night as he walked home from a dance, the high school student was praying the Our Father and Hail Mary for his family. Praying “Thy Kingdom come, I had an incredible experience of the presence of the Lord. I was overwhelmed with the Lord’s love, peace, joy, and goodness. All I could say was ‘Lord, Lord.’ It was really pure grace, nothing to do with me.”
Then he had a sense that the Lord wanted him to “Go, tell other people about my love. Go to the poor. If people have my love, they have everything.”
The Franciscan friar of the third order regular was ordained to the priesthood on May 15, 1971.
A FRIAR'S LIFE: Fr. Angert has served in parish and campus ministries in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Austria, Florida, and now Texas.
He enjoyed many years teaching at Franciscan universities and seminaries. He remembers thinking as he crossed campus to teach a class, “Academics is really a great field, but I’d like to get back into ministry and celebrate, because our Catholic Church is primarily a sacramental church.”
PRIESTLY PRIORITIES: “Your heart has to be centered on the Lord and building His Kingdom. Our first ministry is not with people. Our first ministry is worship of the Lord.”
He spends at least an hour a day in prayer, which is “absolutely crucial.”
“I don’t think it’s all that complicated. In all humility, it’s trusting the action of the Lord, and doing what God wants, and seeing God work in a lot of different ways.”
SCRIPTURE SUGGESTION: When reading the Bible, “The key thing is the action of God, and then also, how God wants to act in our lives, how you yield to that. . . being open to how God is working.”
FIFTY YEARS AND BEYOND: “My retirement plan is out of this world,” he said with a laugh.