Joe Aponick of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Harrisburg says Father Samuel Houser of St. Patrick Catholic Church in York is stepping aside for health reasons.Houser was named senior priest and assigned to Saint Margaret Mary Church in Harrisburg. The Rev. Robert M. Gillelan, Jr., diocesan administrator, recently announced the appointment.
He also promoted the Rev. Keith M. Carroll from parochial vicar to administrator of St. Patrick. Both moves are effective Saturday.
Diocesan communications director, Aponick said a senior priest “is a position that assists the pastor, similar to a parochial vicar, but without administrative responsibilities.”
In an April 2012 interview, Houser, then 64, explained in an email to me his decision to enter the priesthood. He initially had no intention of doing so, he said.
“I had other plans for my life that included a desire to be a florist, marriage and many children,” Houser wrote. “While in high school, Lewistown-Granville High School, my goal was to graduate (which I did in 1965) and never go to school again.”
Houser enrolled in Thompson Institute in Harrisburg and spent two years there. During that time, he felt the pull to seminary.
“As much as I wanted to put the idea out of my mind, the stronger the thoughts (of becoming a priest) became,” Houser wrote. “After many months, I spoke with one of the priests in the parish at Sacred Heart Church and he was ready to have me apply that day.”
Many more months passed before Houser applied to seminary, only to see his application rejected. He re-applied the following year and was accepted into an eight-year course of study.
“From the first day that I was in the seminary, I sensed that I was in the right place,” he wrote.