In 2005 Fr Joseph Roesch, an American priest of the Marian Immaculate Community without a word of Italian, was appointed vicar general in Rome, reports the Catholic Weekly.
It became his “most memorable” assignment as he “surrendered to God’s will, said yes and went along for the ride”. The importance of surrender was a lesson that Fr Joseph had to learn after initially being reluctant to answer the call to priesthood.
The second oldest of five children, he was born in Queens, NY, where his father was a high school art teacher. “I was born in Queens, we moved to Brooklyn when I was around two and to Staten Island when I was about five – all boroughs of New York City,” he says.
Urban apartments eventually gave way to a family home in the suburbs, where young Joseph was involved in scouts and sport. It was also there, in a “very Catholic home with pictures and statues of saints” that his foundation in the faith began.
“My father and my mother met as Secular Franciscans,” he says. “They continue to go to daily Mass. We often prayed the family rosary together while I was growing up. I had an aunt who was a Poor Clare nun and my mother’s cousin is a priest in Brooklyn.
“My parents gave us very good example regarding the practice of the faith. They also influenced us with their Franciscan spirituality – moderation in all things, simplicity.”
As a young boy, Joseph attended daily Mass during the summer and anxiously awaited becoming an altar server. “I considered becoming a priest at an early age, even playing at saying Mass at home using saltines and water,” he recalls.
“I went to a vocational camp one summer when I was 11 or 12 to consider attending a minor seminary run by the Vincentians.”
FULL STORY Magazines that led to vocation and Divine Mercy (Catholic Weekly)