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Deacons Cameron Faller, Pat Summerhays to be ordained as priests

May 22, 2015

The priestly ordination of Deacons Cameron Faller and Pat Summerhays will take place June 6 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The public is invited. Catholic San Francisco assistant editor Valerie Schmalz interviewed the two men soon to become the archdiocese’s newest priests.

Cameron Faller

Born: Feb. 1, 1988, Greenbrae

Parish: Our Lady of Loretto, Novato

Parents: Joel and Bonnie Faller

Siblings: Brothers Ryan, Garrett, Kyle

Schools: Our Lady of Loretto (K-4), North Bay Christian Academy (5), Sinaloa Middle School (6-8), Marin Catholic High School (9-12), Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (two years), Gonzaga University (two years).

What do you most look ahead to as a priest? First and foremost, more than doing anything in particular as a priest, I simply look forward to just being a priest and having the privilege of being able to completely offer my life to God in service of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. More specifically, I look forward to being able to offer the sacrifice of the Mass for the glory of God and for the salvation of the world. 

Who most inspired your vocation and why? To be honest, I think the Blessed Mother has had the greatest influence on my vocation. Before I went on a religious pilgrimage to Lourdes, France in 2007, I had never sincerely considered becoming a priest. However, somewhat miraculously in Lourdes, and I believe through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, I all of a sudden had a deep conviction that God was calling me to be a priest. 

It’s hard to measure up to the Blessed Mother, but Bishop Tom Daly has also been very influential in my vocation. I have truly appreciated his concern, support, and guidance during my time in formation, and he has been a great example of what it means for a priest to love his vocation and to always be available to the needs of the people. 

What do you like to do in your free time? I loved playing sports growing up, and I still enjoy following sports, especially March Madness and World Cup soccer. In addition, I enjoy exercising and having time for my own personal prayer and spiritual reading. 

What is one of your favorite Bible passages? I really like John 4:34 when Jesus proclaims, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.” I like this passage because it poses a great challenge for me. I hope as I continue to grow in my faith and serve the people of God as a priest that I, like Christ, might be able to thirst for and be nourished by simply fulfilling the will of my Father. 

What is the greatest challenge facing the church today? It’s hard to think of what is the greatest challenge because I think there are a wide variety of different challenges that the church has to face today. However, one of the biggest challenges might be the very popular philosophy of relativism which holds that there is no objective and universal truth; rather, the truth is understood as being subjective to each individual person. One can easily imagine the vast array of problems this belief causes for the world and for the church. 

Who is your favorite saint? My favorite saint is probably St. Therese of Lisieux. In our culture which is dominated by the need to be productive and successful, St. Therese offers a great message of how we can obtain holiness through recognizing our weaknesses and surrendering ourselves completely to God. 

What role did your family play in your vocation? While I was growing up, my family didn’t talk much about the priesthood being a possible vocation for my brothers or myself, but I believe it was my parents’ ability to faithfully live out their own vocation to marriage that helped me be open to hear God’s call to the priesthood. Furthermore, my parents gave me a great foundation in the faith which also helped provide a fertile environment in which I could hear the call to be a priest. 

Do you have a favorite philosopher, theologian or other thinker? Pope Benedict XVI.

What sports do you play/are you interested in? I played football and basketball in high school and I continue to enjoy following these sports as well as international soccer and baseball.

Patrick John Summerhays

Born: May 26, 1973, Orange

Parish: Grew up in Our Lady of Loretto until 18

Parents: Kim and Catherine Summerhays

Siblings: Suzanne (Francois), Christine (Semler), Julie (McDonald), Mark, Amy, Ann (Arend).

Schools: Our Lady of Loretto School (1-8); St. Vincent High School (Petaluma); University of San Francisco, BA, MBA, with junior year abroad at Blackfriars Studium, University of Oxford).

Career: For more than 10 years after graduation, worked in finance, including at a biotech start-up and a private wealth management firm. Originally entered the seminary from St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix and studied for the Diocese of Phoenix for two years before moving back to San Francisco and deciding to re-enter for the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 2010.

What do you most look ahead to as a priest? After seven years of seminary formation, I most look forward to the opportunity to be immersed in a parish community and having the opportunity to meet and minister to the parishioners on a daily basis.

Who most inspired your vocation and why? I believe, of course, that God ultimately inspired my vocation. But, he used a variety of human instruments for this purpose. First, the generous and faithful parish priests that I grew up knowing at Our Lady of Loretto. Second, the witness of young priests and seminarians that I met as an adult who exuded an authentic joy for the vocation to the priesthood. Third, a handful of religious men and women as well as friends in the laity who encouraged me to consider the vocation to the priesthood.

What do you like to do in your free time? In my free time, I like to visit friends and family, travel, hike, watch basketball or baseball, and read.

What is one of your favorite Bible passages? “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit” (John 15:16).

What is the greatest challenge facing the church today? The church is always called to evangelize – to share the good news – first within the church, then with the culture at-large. However, in this culture, the Gospel message is often not given a fair hearing before it is shouted down. In the so-called “Communication Age,” the tolerance for Christian dialogue and our ability as a society for civil discourse on important issues is severely waning.

Do you see specific gifts or background that you have that will help you in your vocation? I hope that, by coming to the seminary a little later in life, this time and these experiences will not be wasted. I pray that God will use some of my business experiences and personal relationships to best serve his purposes in my priestly ministry.

What role did your family play in your vocation? My parents were always very supportive of the option to pursue the Catholic priesthood. We prayed for vocations as a family and (without pressuring me) they always let me know that they would support me if I sensed this call from God. As I made the decision to pursue this path, my parents, siblings, and extended family have all been very encouraging.

Do you have a favorite philosopher, theologian or other thinker? I consider myself to be a bit of an Archbishop Fulton Sheen “junkie.” He was perhaps the greatest American Catholic communicator and helped popularize the theological and philosophical thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. I also enjoy reading C.S. Lewis and, while I have been in the seminary, I have grown in my appreciation of the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar.

Any favorite movies, TV shows, books? Books: “A Severe Mercy” (Sheldon Vanauken); “Man’s Search for Meaning” (Viktor Frankl)

Movies: “Life is Beautiful,” “Empire of the Sun,” “My Left Foot,” “I Am David, Bourne” (series), “Waking Ned Devine.”

TV: “Band of Brothers.”

What sports do you play/are you interested in? Basketball, baseball, football.


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