Updated: 11:17 a.m. Friday, June 29, 2012 | Posted: 11:14 a.m. Friday, June 29, 2012

Local man takes unordinary path toward priesthood

PITTSBURGH —

Three men will be ordained as priests in the Pittsburgh Diocese on Saturday, but one in particular took a different path.

Deacon Kevin Fazio was a college athlete and worked his way up through his family company to become vice president.

“I graduated from John Carroll University in 1994 and worked in the business world, primarily in the steel industry,” he said. “I gravitated towards marketing and sales.”

But in his 30s, he gravitated toward a different calling after meeting a priest to whom he could relate.

“It was the first time I thought ‘Wow. I met a normal regular guy who is a priest who is happy in serving the Lord and serving people as a priest,’” he said.

There were parts of his decision that did not come easily.

“Not having a family and not carrying on the family business were two biggies for me,” Fazio said.

Father Joe Mele is the rector at St. Paul Seminary in Crafton. He said in the past 10 to 15 years, the Diocese has seen more men like Fazio making mid-life career changes.

“I think there were a lot of people like Kevin, at his age, who were doing worthwhile work that was very meaningful but still feeling something was missing,” Mele said.

He added that there has been a resurgence of men dedicating themselves to the priesthood.

According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, while the number of priests in the U.S. Catholic Church has declined from 2005 to 2011, the number of ordained priests and seminarians has increased.

Fazio will be ordained Saturday morning at St. Paul Cathedral along with Deacons Fred Gruber and Michael Sedor.

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