Photo Credit: Brandi Klein
By Alison Bradish
The Archdiocese of Regina joyfully celebrated two ordinations to the priesthood and one ordination to the transitional diaconate this summer.
June 29th, the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Christian Lindenbach was ordained to the transitional diaconate, the last formal step before becoming a priest. For the next year he will continue studies at St. Augustine Seminary in Toronto.
On the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15th, Deacon Christopher Juchacz, and Deacon Andrew Lindenbach were ordained to the priesthood in a Mass livestreamed from Holy Rosary Cathedral in Regina.
The path of discernment for 41-year-old Fr. Juchacz started to take root when he was living in Ottawa and volunteered as a coordinator for evening Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. As a result, he worked alongside many different priests. This experience opened him up to the priesthood.
“I always felt a call to service, and I didn’t know what that looked like,” says Fr. Juchacz, who was raised in Regina and is an alumnus of Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School.
“I thought about just becoming a permanent deacon, getting married, and having a family. One day I had this thought, ‘what would it look like if I gave my whole life to God, not just giving him a portion and time of my life’, and immediately that made me think of priesthood and it took me many years from that point to come to where I am now,” says Fr. Juchacz.
His journey included two discernment weekends at St. Augustine Seminary in Toronto. After returning to Saskatchewan for a couple of years, he continued discerning with a Franciscan community in Ellicott, Maryland. However, he realized he was not called to a religious order. He was accepted as a candidate for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Regina and completed his studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Edmonton.
Fr. Juchacz says he had many influences and encouragement from friends as he pursued his call. One person who had an impact was former Campion College professor Dr. Gregory Maillet who encouraged some students to attend World Youth Day (WYD) in Rome in 2000.
“I had been educated in Catholic schools all my life, but it never really took. I did not really have a relationship with God that was tangible. Before I left for WYD, I remember praying to God if you are real let me know,” says Fr. Juchacz.
In Rome, he had experiences of God’s real and loving presence. He remembers praying at St. Peter’s Basilica to be a good father and laughs, saying he did not know what kind of father he would become.
Thirty-three-year-old Fr. Andrew Lindenbach was born in Regina and grew up in Saskatoon. He is the oldest of four brothers, one of whom is 31-year-old Deacon Christian Lindenbach. In the summers Fr. Andrew spent a lot of time with his uncle Fr. Gary Lindenbach, a priest in the Archdiocese of Regina.
Fr. Andrew’s formation included six years of study at the seminary in Edmonton after completing his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at Campion College at the University of Regina.
“One of my memories is of a youth rally in Saskatoon. It was one of their seminarians at the time that came up to give a talk. He went up there and listed everything I always felt was an impediment for me to move forward and think about becoming a priest. He told us all about how he had struggled through all these things, and in the end, he found out it didn’t matter,” recalls Fr. Andrew, who says he has always been challenged with public speaking.
After attending seminary for six months, he left not feeling ready to pursue his call. But one event while working at a bar made him think he should head back on the path to priesthood.
“I had one evening when this random guy, who I had never seen before or after, came up and put his arm around my shoulders and said, ‘You are going to make a great priest someday’, and it was just so shocking a moment,” recalls Fr. Andrew who had begun to contemplate going into social work at the time.
Fr. Andrew and his brother Deacon Christian became candidates for the priesthood at the same time, but as Deacon Christian explains, they have always respected each other’s individual journey. Deacon Christian describes his call as a gradual, slow process.
“Looking back, the Church is where I felt the most peaceful,” says Deacon Christian, who at one point discerned becoming a Jesuit. But Deacon Christian always felt a pull in his heart to serve in Southern Saskatchewan and is happy to be on his way to becoming a Diocesan Priest for the Archdiocese of Regina.
Fr. Chris Juchacz will serve as associate pastor at Holy Family Parish Regina beginning September 1st and Fr. Andrew Lindenbach at St. Joseph parish in Langenburg, St. Mary in Churchbridge, and St. Patrick in Spy Hill.
Page URL: http://archregina.sk.ca/news/2020/08/26/archdiocese-regina-celebrates-summer-ordinations-priesthood-and-transitional