On June 3, 2017, Bishop Richard F. Stika will ordain Christoper Floersh to the Holy Priesthood during a Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Last month, Deacon Floersh was gracious to answer a few questions about his upcoming ordination in an email exchange with Diocese of Knoxville Communications Director Jim Wogan.
JW: Bishop Stika has ordained a good number of new, young priests in recent years. What can you tell me about the vitality of our diocese in this regard?
DCF: Since I have been in seminary, I have witnessed our diocese exponentially grow. The Diocese of Knoxville clearly has a vibrant faith life. I see this in the number of vocations, and also in the vitality of the parishes.
JW: How exciting and fulfilling is it to be part of a diocese like Knoxville? Why?
DCF: These are thrilling times for the Diocese of Knoxville. We are on the threshold of completing our new Cathedral. One can hardly walk around the seminary without being asked about her progress. It is however not merely our Cathedral which makes the diocese great, rather the magnificence of the Cathedral is merely a reflection worthy of all the Faithful. I look forward to making our diocese my permanent family and home.
JW: You speak with other seminarians, is Knoxville unique in any ways? If so, how?
DCF: If I were to describe the gentlemen who are studying for the priesthood in our diocese, it would be southern hospitality and charm. I believe being part of this culture has fostered a great deal of respect and manners for our men. I have also heard this sentiment expressed from other seminarians and the staff at the seminaries as well. This, I believe is something we can all be proud of, and will serve our diocese well in the future.
JW: I realize this is rather obligatory, but what motivated you to the priesthood?
DCF: If I were to describe what motivated me for the priesthood, it would be prayer, my parents and the priests, over the course of a lifetime, who inspired me to see what priestly life is. As one who is about to be ordained, it is a great opportunity to someday inherit the parishes which many of our current pastors founded. That is the beauty of being part of a young diocese. We don’t need to read about our diocesan history in books. We have the unique opportunity to learn from the priests who established our diocese.
JW: Now that you are close to your ordination, what are your thoughts?
DCF: Many people ask me if I am nervous about my upcoming ordination. Perhaps I should be nervous, but as of right now all I can feel is excitement. I am eager to begin work as a priest.
JW: Your ordination is less than two months away. Can you provide a few sentences of gratitude to offer diocesan parishioners who supported your journey to the priesthood?
DCF: I cannot express my appreciation enough for the many people who helped me along my journey. I am constantly bumping into individuals who tell me they pray for our seminarians every day. This is the utmost necessity while in the seminary. Without prayer, no one could make it through. I am eternally grateful and continue to pray for all those who supported and directed me to God’s Holy Altar.