David Langford knew from a very young age that God was calling him to the priesthood. Now with his upcoming ordination to the diaconate, he’s getting closer to fulfilling that calling.
Langford is the third of six children. Growing up, both of his parents, Chris and Ellen, were strong Catholics. The family prayed a decade of the rosary every night and read from the Old and New Testaments. They attended daily Mass a couple times a week, went to confession every two weeks and Mass every Sunday. His father was co-founder and first president of Redeemer Radio, but has since stepped back from that role.
His calling first manifested when he was very young. Although Langford has no memory of the incident, his mother told him that one day when they were in the car with his oldest sister, he told her he was going to become a priest.
His mom didn’t take it too seriously since children so often change their minds. “Well, I got mad and said, ‘You don’t understand — I hear Jesus telling me to be a priest!’”
Apparently, his sister burst into tears, saying it wasn’t fair because she’d been asking God every day to tell her His vocation for her. “She ended up as a cloistered Dominican nun in New Jersey — she had a sense really young that God was calling her to religious life.”
The family attends St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Fort Wayne. Langford attended school there until fifth grade. He was homeschooled from sixth grade through high school, graduating in 2015, entering seminary immediately after. He attended Bishop Simon Bruté Seminary at Marian University in Indianapolis and graduated with a philosophy and history degree. He’s now in his third year at Mount St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.
His dad’s brother was a priest — Father Joseph Langford, MC.
“One year, he came to visit us for a week and said Mass for us every day,” Langford shared.
When asked if having a priest for an uncle had an impact on his vocation, Langford answered, “Definitely. My uncle was very impressive. He met Mother Teresa in Rome and was inspired by her and received special permission to start an order of priests of the Missions of Charity.”
Langford said that when his uncle was diagnosed with cancer, they went to visit him at his camp in Tijuana, Mexico, and went back for his funeral.
“Seeing all the poor people fill the church and all the priests of the order was a witness to a life given away. It was really inspiring to have a life with that impact,” he said.
His uncle was also his godfather. Langford remarked, “I like to think he’s praying for me.”
It has been interesting hearing the varied experiences of his fellow seminarians. “Some people had some childhood sense and it faded; some had no inkling at all until years later — it hits everyone at different times,” he commented.
For Langford, that “certain sense” of what God was asking of him never really faded. “It was strong enough at the end of high school that I talked to my pastor and he encouraged me to apply to seminary. I realized God could make me really happy doing this,” he said.
He feels that a lot of his talents could be put to good use in the priesthood, such as his love for studying Scripture and Church history. “I think people want to learn about their faith — there’s a real hunger for the truth.”
Langford also enjoys literature and writing and hopes that will help “make for interesting homilies.”
He also enjoys sports and interacting with people. “I think those are all things that will be asked of me in the priesthood, but I know there will be ways I’m called out of myself, too, which is a good thing.”
He has never doubted his calling, but admitted there have been times when his enthusiasm waxes and wanes — especially when he is not interacting with people. “I always love coming back and serving at retreats or being at a parish for the summer,” he said.
Another thing he had to come to terms with was celibacy. “There’s a certain amount of natural grief about giving up marriage — but you know God has it all planned out for you. It’s a sacrifice, but it’s a real grace. It helps when my heart is turned first and always to God.”
What he is looking forward to most after his ordination as a deacon is “being able to preach; being able to minister at church for the people; the ordinary interactions as a minister of the Church — especially in the liturgy.”
For anyone else considering the priestly vocation, Langford had this advice: “You can only figure it out if you give it a try. If you are called, God will make you very happy and solve any problems you think you have. If you think it might be God’s will — give it a try.”
“It’s not always a feeling — you have a certain knowledge. You could ignore it; maybe even successfully, but will it make you happy? I don’t think so,” he said.
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