Father Michael Fye celebrates his first Mass Sunday, July 27, 3 p.m., St. Christopher Church, Dickson. Then he will return to Rome to complete his graduate work.
When Deacon Michael Fye left his home in Dickson County to become a seminarian for the Diocese of Nashville at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, he put his trust in the Lord.
“My presumption was God would not lead me wrong … he would take care of me if I would just simply let him,” Deacon Fye said.
On Saturday, July 26, the Lord will lead him to the altar of the Cathedral of the Incarnation where he will be ordained a priest along with eight other men. They will make up the largest ordination class since 1970 when the diocese included all of Tennessee.
Deacon Fye moved to Dickson County from California when he was in the fourth grade. His family became parishioners at St. Christopher Church in Dickson, where he was an altar server. He attended St. Patrick School in nearby McEwen and later graduated from Creekwood High School in northern Dickson County.
“I was born and raised Catholic by a faithful Catholic family,” and the Catholic Church and faith have always been an important part of his life, Deacon Fye said.
“While in my head I was going to wherever God wanted, I didn’t seriously consider the priesthood until I was graduating high school,” Deacon Fye said. He talked to his pastor at St. Christopher, Father Steven Gideon and Bishop David Choby about attending the seminary, and decided to pursue it right out of high school.
As a seminarian, he said, “I had to develop a prayer life to help me discern God’s will.” In the first couple of years in the seminary, his vocation became clearer. “It’s been confirmed in little ways I sometimes didn’t realize” at the time, Deacon Fye said. “The loudest I heard God speak was in silent retreats.”
After graduating from the Josephinum with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Deacon Fye headed to the North American College in Rome and studies at the College of Santa Croce.
“It’s been wonderful,” he said of his four years in Rome. “The faith in Rome is visible in the very stones, and the rocks and the buildings. You see it. You feel it. You hear it.”
Studying in another country presents some challenges, Deacon Fye said, particularly the language difference. All of his classes at Santa Croce were in Italian.
But living at the North American College, where the seminarians speak English while pursuing their spiritual, pastoral and human formation, provided a little piece of home, Deacon Fye said. “I love all the friends I’ve made there.”
Daily life at the North American College, like at every seminary, Deacon Fye said, is centered around time for prayer. “It’s a big emphasis,” he said. “You have to know Christ. … He’s the whole reason and the end for which we’re doing this.”
Deacon Fye earned a baccalaureate of sacred theology at Santa Croce and is currently working toward a licentiate in sacred theology in morality at the Pontifical College of St. Thomas Aquinas, known as the Angelicum.
He decided to focus his studies on morality because it is a topic “that would help me and help other people the rest of my life as a priest,” he said. “Morality is something people do every day, so it’s relevant.”
After he is ordained, he will return to Rome for his final years of study before returning to the diocese next summer for his first assignment as a priest in Middle Tennessee. During recent summers, he has worked and lived in a parish in England and at Sacred Heart Church in Lawrenceburg and at Holy Family Church in Brentwood.
“I’m very much looking forward to being in the parish,” Deacon Fye said. “That’s the whole purpose, sanctifying people in their lives.”
As we watches his sister take care of her two young children, Deacon Fye sees a model for his priesthood with “selfless giving, every moment of every day being available for other people.”
After his ordination, he will celebrate his first Mass at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 27, at St. Christopher. He is the first man from the parish to be ordained a priest and he has appreciated all the support he has received over the years from his fellow parishioners.
At the first Mass at St. Christopher after his ordination as a transitional deacon, he said, “I felt all the excitement and pride of the parishioners.”
He is excited about his upcoming ordination as a priest, “but when I know the change in my life is going to cause exhilaration in others, that’s a blessing,” Deacon Fye said.
During this summer, Deacon Fye has attended the ordinations of three of his friends and classmates from the seminary and was able to ride the emotions of the occasion with them. “I feel better prepared,” he said.
Soon, it will be his turn. “I’m really excited.”