Bishop Richard F. Stika will ordain Deacon Mark Schuster as a priest of the Diocese of Knoxville during a Mass of Ordination this Saturday, June 8, at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville.
The Mass is open to the public and will be video streamed live on the DioKnox TV YouTube channel beginning at 10:45 a.m.
Deacon Schuster, 41, will become the 53rd priest ordained in the diocese since it was established by Pope St. John Paul II in 1988. He will become the 18th priest ordained by Bishop Stika since his installation here in 2009.
Deacon Schuster was ordained a transitional deacon last June at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Deacon Schuster’s steps into religious life began after he completed college at the University of Tennessee and was an intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Years before, a phone call provided a spark that eventually changed his life.
“The first time I ever thought about the priesthood was when a seminarian called me and said, ‘Hey, would you like to come and visit this seminary?’ Before that, I didn’t remember thinking about being a priest, and I didn’t want to think about it,” Deacon Schuster said during an interview in late 2018.
He remembers asking himself why he felt “terrified” by the thought of being a priest.
“It took many more years. It eventually came to another point of, it’s still there, that desire to serve the Church, that desire to serve the Lord, and that inkling, that love for priests, but love for something different, something sacred, that calling that He placed there in my heart and then through a lot of prayers and in a moment I just said, ‘yes’, and I was at peace.”
Following his ordination, Father Schuster will be assigned to St. John Neumann Parish in Knoxville.
He is a graduate of St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana.
On June 15 at the cathedral, Bishop Stika will ordain seminarians Zach Griffith and Alex Hernandez as transitional deacons for the Diocese of Knoxville.