Have You Ever Thought of Being a Priest
Meet Father Volney DeRosia
By Simcha Fisher
In this series, Parable travels the Diocese of Manchester to profile a priest from each region. Father Von DeRosia is a priest in the Rockingham deanery, which is located along the state’s southern border with Massachusetts. In the next issue, Parable will profile a priest from the Amoskeag deanery, which includes Manchester, the state’s largest city, and surrounding communities.
When Father Volney DeRosia was in high school, he let on that he was thinking of becoming a priest. He remembers, “One of the girls in choir said, ‘But then you can’t have sex!”
“Yeah, I got that,” he responded.
Again, she said, “But, then you won’t be able to have sex!”
“I realize that,” he reassured her.
He also needed to reassure himself that growing into his vocation could be a gradual process. “Priests aren’t born with a collar around their neck,” he said.
Father Volney (Von) DeRosia, 43, has worn the collar since his ordination in 2003 – six weeks after his father, a convert, was ordained a permanent deacon. Father Von, who is also an accomplished musician, has been the pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Pelham for six years, and at St. Joseph Parish in Epping for five. He also served in the Keene area and at St. Michael’s in Exeter and St. Mary’s in Newmarket.
When did you first hear the call to become a priest?
When I was in second grade, we started getting close to one of the parish priests. He had a profound effect on our family. I saw great wisdom in [him and other] priests. I saw men who really were representing God’s love, God’s wisdom, God’s care to the people of God.
I didn’t think I could emulate them. But when I went to Camp Fatima, I met a seminarian who was a counselor. As I learned the process seminarians go through, it hit me that I could be a priest.
What is the most helpful thing someone said or did that made you realize you were called to the priesthood?
My mother grew up very Catholic. But there was never any pressure. It was merely through her example and her prayer, her lifestyle. Because of the witness and faith in our family and by these priests and these seminarians, my vocation came to the front. I could say, “Yes, this is something I could want to be.”
What are the greatest challenges of being a priest?
Making sure I’m not focused on myself, but I’m available to people who need me to be available. I go through seasons where I’m good, and seasons where I’m not so good. It can be difficult to remember, as one of my good friends says: “Silly Father Von, you think your time is your own.”
What is most rewarding?
Seeing people get the fact that they are loved by almighty God. When they get that aha moment, that God really does love them. They are worth everything to God. That’s what I live for.
What advice do you have for those contemplating the priesthood today?
Always to pray to know God’s will, and pray for the courage to be able to do it. It’s only in our relationship to almighty God that we’ll be able to know what God’s will is for us. When we’re not praying, we don’t know what God wants for us.