A pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 2015 began Bobby Krisch’s discernment to becoming a priest. The peace and joy he found after the pilgrimage led him in a new direction of his faith journey – a journey leading to his ordination as a transitional deacon on May 21, 2022.
Krisch’s journey begins a little closer to his hometown of South Bend and his home parish of St. Jude. His parents are John and Mary Krisch, and he has two sisters and a brother. Many of his family members are active in the diocese.
“I was a late vocation,” he says about his discernment process. “I was born and raised Catholic, went to Catholic grade school and high school. It was the background of who we are and what we did.” However, Kirsch says that the priesthood never entered his mind.
After graduating from Marian High School, Krisch attended Manchester University, where he earned a degree in accounting. He began working as an accountant in Wabash. It was here where he struggled in his faith and realized something was missing. He began trying to find ways to make more connections with his Catholic faith and find peace.
In January of 2015, he received a call out of the blue from his uncle, his confirmation sponsor, inviting him on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Krisch recalls thinking about the trip at the time, “This opportunity is a grace. It’s an opportunity to experience Medjugorje and experience Mary. And if it’s all true, then I know my faith will be bolstered.”
When he arrived in Medjugorje, Krisch went to confession and said, “That’s when things started to click.” He went up the mountain early on the morning of March 18, 2015, to witness the apparition. “It was a really powerful and beautiful experience,” he said, looking back on the visit.
It was in Medjugorje where he recognized a new peace and joy that he had not felt in any other place or time in his life. “I want peace like that. What did we do in Medjugorje that created that? I went to Mass every day. I prayed the rosary every day.”
He was living in Huntington at the time and tried to recreate those holy habits at home. He began going to daily Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, going to regular confession and praying the rosary every day.
Two weeks after his return home, Krisch heard his first call to the priesthood. “I might be called to be a priest. Like yeah, that’s cool. Priests do cool stuff. Like bring God’s mercy to people in confession and they make Jesus present on the altar at Mass!”
Krisch emailed Father Andrew Budzinski, Vocation Director of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, seeking guidance with this new call. Father Budzinski sent him information about the process and two books. He read the first book quickly. When he got to the second book, “To Save a Thousand Souls,” he felt overwhelmed. “I decided to pump the breaks. I stopped and I said ‘thank you, God, I appreciate the offer, but I’m just going to be a holy accountant.’”
It would be a year before Krisch talked again to Father Budzinski. During that time, God continued to pursue Krisch. His employer wanted him to take the CPA exam. He wasn’t excited to study for the test, but it gave him a distraction from God’s call to the priesthood. Krisch finally told God that if He got him through the exam, he would reconsider the priesthood.
In June 2016, Krisch passed the exam. He then attended a Christ Renews His Parish retreat. It was here where he heard God call him to the priesthood again. Following more prayer asking God to guide him through the process, he called Father Budzinski to restart the process of formally applying for the seminary. Krisch began to meet regularly with Father Drew Curry to pray and continue his discernment.
Krisch received and completed his application for seminary in early 2017. However, he wanted to make certain he was following God’s call. He made another trip to Medjugorje looking for the peace he had felt there before. “I had a really great experience there. I really felt confirmed in my calling to the priesthood.”
He met with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades in May of 2017 and was accepted into seminary. He left his employer in July 2017 and began attending Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
The first two years were challenging. “The philosophy classes were a 180-degree difference from my accounting background,” he shared. The last two years at seminary have been important for him. He was excited when he moved into the theology classes. “It was so good when we got to the theology portion of seminary, studying Scripture, Church history and the sacraments.” While the process has been challenging, it has also been good for him to grow closer to the Lord.
Krisch is excited for the year ahead as a transitional deacon. “God has guided me through so much. He’s not going to leave me hanging. Being a deacon is all about Jesus Christ. Letting Him work through me, broken instrument that I am … but God works through those people. That’s where the excitement comes in.”
When asked about his religious influences, Krisch said, “I wouldn’t be here without Mary.” He made near-daily visits to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes while at seminary. Mary has influenced his growth and journey towards priesthood.
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