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He’s a rugby player, a bagpiper and a priest!

By |2012-01-12T03:00:27-06:00Jan 12, 2012|Vocations|

Ermatinger05Fr. Cliff Ermatinger puts on a short performance on the bagpipes for parishioners after the 10 a.m. Mass at St. Anthony Church in Milwaukee on Sunday, Jan. 8. He is playing a set of Great Highland Bagpipes, made by Atherton Pipes in Naperville, Ill. The pipes are made from holly and African blackwood. More photos of Fr. Ermatinger playing the bagpipes can be viewed at (Catholic Herald photo by Ernie Mastroianni)Fr. Cliff Ermatinger is a Catholic priest, but don’t be surprised to find him on the rugby pitch, participating in a bagpipe competition or in the woods training a hunting dog.

Chicago native Fr. Ermatinger not only dispels the myths that a priest’s life is all prayer, he may well have rearranged the idea of what it means to be a Catholic priest, and few young people could argue that his life is lacking excitement.

Not only is Fr. Ermatinger fluent in five languages, he is the author of five books, and a world traveler, giving courses in spiritual theology, spiritual direction, apologetics and youth formation. He has served as media spokesman for the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI on Good Morning America, the BBC, CBS, Vatican and international television stations. If that is not enough, he is training a Gordon Setter Scottish hunting dog; and has a passion for rugby, hunting, fishing and is an accomplished bagpiper.

The 47-year-old former member of the Legionaries of Christ felt God’s first call to the priesthood when he was 5, and while he never intellectually veered from that calling, he decided to stray from the plan after attending Archbishop Quigley High School. Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki was the school’s Dean of Discipline when the future priest attended the high school. After graduation, he put God on the back burner and joined the Marines.

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