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Published: Saturday, 6/12/2004

Path to priesthood had brief detour

THE BLADE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Chris Bazar worked in a steel stamping plant while discerning God's will. Chris Bazar worked in a steel stamping plant while discerning God's will.
SIMMONS / BLADE Enlarge

Making a lifetime commitment to the priesthood is something a person needs to be sure about, and two men who were candidates for ordination in the Toledo diocese took their time before making the decision.

One is scheduled to be ordained today; the other opted out of the ceremony at the last minute.

Chris Bazar, a native of McCutchenville, Ohio, took a two-year leave from seminary, working as a laborer in a steel-stamping plant in eastern Ohio, before deciding that God was definitely calling him into a life of ministry.

J. Michael Tynan, 45, a native of Bellefontaine, Ohio, worked in the energy business in Texas for seven years before entering the seminary, which is a seven-year program. But yesterday, a diocesan spokesman said that Mr. Tynan withdrew his petition for personal reasons.

He did could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Bishop Leonard Blair, who in December became the seventh bishop of the Toledo diocese, will preside at the ordination Mass that will be held this morning in Rosary Cathedral.

It will be Bishop Blair's first Ordination Mass in Toledo for priests, although he has ordained Toledo deacons.

Mr. Bazar, 31, grew up in a devout Catholic family and said he was interested in the priesthood as early as age 10, when he began working as an altar server at St. Mary's Parish in Tiffin.

After graduating from Mohawk High School in Sycamore, Ohio, he enrolled at the Pontifical College Josephinum, north of Columbus, and then attended St. Meinrad College, and finally St. Meinrad School of Theology.

Mr. Bazar earned a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees, but took two years off from seminary and worked at a stamping plant.

"I wanted to discern God's calling, but there was an openness," he said. "I felt that if I met the right gal, or if I got the right job opportunity, it might lead to something else. But I was open to wherever God calls me."

A co-worker nicknamed him "Father Guido," after the Saturday Night Live character Father Guido Sarducci, which Mr. Bazar considered a sign of acceptance.

"They felt secure enough around me to give me a nickname," he said. "I found happiness and fulfillment living my faith publicly."

Mr. Bazar, whose favorite pastime is listening to classic rock, served as a pastoral intern at SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Sandusky in 1998 and at the Emmaus Cluster in Toledo during the 2001-02 academic year.

He said he learned a lot about ministry during his pastoral internships, including time the spent visiting people in prisons and in nursing homes.

He wants to make sure that, once ordained, he continues to set aside time for prayer and study.

"You have to keep the most important things the important things," he said. "I heard

once ordained, he continues to set aside time for prayer and study.

"You have to keep the most important things the important things," he said. "I heard that phrase during seminary and it's stuck with me. There are so many demands on a priest's life, but the ability to minister flows from your prayer life."

Bishop Leonard Blair will be the ordaining bishop at the Ordination Mass, which starts at 11 a.m. today in Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Blvd.

- DAVID YONKE



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