Chiropractic is actually your third career — what did you do before this?
I spent eight years working in construction, first as an electrician and then as a carpenter. I promised Cheri that this would be the last job change, and I have held to that. It may sound corny, but I really believe God led me to chiropractic. While I really enjoyed working as a carpenter, I kept getting a feeling that I should go into healthcare, to help people in that way. Since I had been a chiropractic patient since I was 8 years old, and my father-in-law was a chiropractor, it felt like a natural fit. I feel very blessed in my vocation. Now my youngest son is a chiropractor in Peoria, Illinois.
What makes you realize this is your vocation?
Because I’m able to help people. I build relationships with patients. With chiropractic, you tend to see people a little bit more often because of the type of care that we do. I tell people, “Thanks for joining my family of patients,” and I really do mean that.
What is it like having a son who is a priest?
It is such a blessing to have a priest in the family. I remember talking to a priest shortly after Shane left for the seminary and telling him I had mixed feelings. I was really looking forward to grandchildren. He told me not to worry; that I would have many spiritual grandchildren, and he was so right. We have met so many wonderful people through Shane’s priesthood. My advice to parents of men discerning the priesthood is don’t stand in their way. Remember the words of Gamaliel in the Acts of the Apostles, when he told the council “if this … is of men, it will fail, but if it is from God, … you might even be found opposing God.”
Do you have any particular prayers or devotions that are your favorite?
A daily rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, weekday Mass when I can, regular confession and Eucharistic Adoration.
You are a convert to the Catholic faith. Can you tell us your conversion story?
I was raised as a rather lukewarm non-denominational Protestant. When I met Cheri, I was introduced to the Catholic faith. I converted shortly after we were married, partly because I knew it would be better if we practiced the same faith, but mostly because I was convinced that the Catholic faith is the true church founded by Jesus in Matthew 16. My faith, like so many people, has grown with time. It is now the most important part of my life.
What made it the most important part of your life?
One of the key turning points was when my wife, children, and I did the St. Louis de Montfort consecration to Mary in the early 1990s. If you looked at our library at home, it’s 90 percent faith books, and a little Dickens thrown in. We came across the consecration in our reading and we thought it sounded like a really good idea. It really seemed to jump-start things for us. I really believe our Blessed Mother has been leading us in a special way ever since.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled?
I love Assisi, Italy. We have been there twice, and it is the most peaceful place I have ever been in. A close second is Rome; so many beautiful churches and so much history.
During one of your trips to Italy, you had a really profound faith experience. Can you tell us about that?
My wife and I were on a pilgrimage in Italy several years ago. I thought I believed in the Real Presence of the Eucharist, even teaching it in CCD. But when I stood inches away from the Eucharistic miracle in Lanciano, it really hit me that I hadn’t believed as much as I thought (a remnant of my Protestant upbringing). In Lanciano in the eighth century, a priest who doubted the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist was saying Mass. At the consecration, the host miraculously turned into flesh, which has been proven to be human heart tissue, and the wine turned into human blood. I had an instant conversion, sort of like a Thomas the Apostle experience, and my faith has been much stronger since then. Also, seven years ago, my wife was diagnosed with cancer, and during that experience, we both grew a tremendous devotion to St. Padre Pio and his words, “pray, hope and don’t worry.”