“Tell me there is an age limit for entering the seminary and that I’m too old to join,” Stan Moczydlowski, then in his early 40’s, implored his parish priest.
Luckily for the Diocese of Allentown, he was not too old.
Of his childhood, Father Stan remembers “growing up in a very Catholic family.” It was a family where “there was always the thought of being a priest.” By the time he reached high school, however, this inkling had left.
After graduation, he attended Albright College, earning a degree in biology, after which he worked for 13 years as a medical technologist. Then came an MBA in healthcare administration, and a subsequent job as an administrator in a medical practice. All the while, he says, “My faith was never extinguished.”
Becoming more active in his parish community, he began lectoring at Mass, and serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. In 1995, his mother, his only remaining parent, passed away right before Ash Wednesday. He decided to attend daily mass as a “Penance” for Lent, and he never stopped.
Then, he says, “There was a blessing in my Life. I was fired.” This, coupled with the passing of his mother, finally pushed him to ask “What am I going to do and where will I find joy?” Serving others, he knew, always brought his happiness. God was leading him to the Priesthood.
Praying and reaching out to his pastor, Father Stan was put in touch with the Diocese Vocations Director. He learned that the Diocese sent one seminarian per class year to Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Intrigued by the opportunity, he visited, and as soon as he stepped in the doors, he says, “I felt I was home.”
It was there that Father Stan said yes to God’s call, describing that feeling as “an incredible sense of peace.”
Throughout his time in the seminary, he also fell in love with the study of his faith, particularly Church History. In 2002, he was ordained a priest at age 48.
“I don’t regret anything,” he says, realizing that each of his previous experiences in life was necessary to prepare him to go where God was leading.
As a priest, Father Stan deeply appreciates the opportunity to teach others about the faith through RCIA, preaching, and especially celebrating the Sacraments. Doing so, he says, always helps to deepen his own faith.
“Being a priest is wonderful,” he says. “While doing all the administrative work can be taxing, you’re still doing God’s work.”
“My biggest fear about going into the Priesthood was loneliness,” he reflects. But he has since discovered that “giving yourself to God, and giving yourself to the Church, you enter into different kinds of relationships.” With God, his brother priests, and his wonderful parishioners, Father Stan has never had to worry about being lonely. He is, as he puts it, “a brother and father to many.”
To other men considering the Priesthood, he advises, “It requires you to really trust in God, listen to him, and pray. Make that leap of faith.”
Anyone who is interested in a vocation to the priestly or religious life is encouraged to contact Father Mark Searles, Director of the Office for Vocations Promotion, at email@example.com.