YOUR CATHOLIC PRIEST Fr. John Greb -- Mechanic becomes priest after 15-year hiatus from Church
YOUR CATHOLIC PRIEST: Fr. John Greb -- Mechanic becomes priest after 15-year hiatus from Church
Fr. John Greb
Fr. John Greb
doesn't have grease under his
The former heavy-equipment mechanic who once spent his days fixing engines and tinkering with parts was ordained a priest in 2006.
Part of the phenomena of "late vocations" the Church has experienced recently, he's in his 40s, but has only been a priest for three years.
As a child, Fr. Greb thought about becoming a priest, but as he
teen years, the dream faded considerably.
By the time he
left high school, he
had stopped attending church altogether.
He earned a technical degree and was apprenticed as a mechanic at Empire Machinery in Mesa.
Working on Caterpillar engines all day, he
barely thought back to his
childhood vision of the priesthood.
After a 15-year hiatus from practicing his
Catholic faith, Fr. Greb
returned to Church at the invitation of his
felt a strong call to a religious vocation during a Mass that took place at St. Timothy Parish
on Thanksgiving Day in l995.
"I received Communion, and I heard a voice within my mind say, 'What about the priesthood?' I tried to push that voice to the background," Fr. Greb
participated in the Arise program, learning more and more about his
"The call became stronger, but I kept telling God I want to be married, to have children.
But God is persistent," Fr. Greb
A framed picture of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen that hangs in his
office at St. Joseph Parish
attests to what happened next.
"Archbishop Sheen talks about the Hound of Heaven and how he
pursues you almost relentlessly," Fr. Greb
When Fr. Greb attended singles' functions at the parish, people would frequently ask him to lead the group in prayer.
It even happened with teasing among family members.
"One time we had Thanksgiving or Christmas at my house in Tempe, and my dad, who is not Catholic and is still not Catholic said, 'Oooh - Fr. John.' These things kept happening and happening."
noticed in his
journey back to the Church that the people who really seemed to have a strong faith were very devoted to the Blessed Mother.
"I started to look around and I said, 'I want their brand of faith,'" Fr. Greb
made a pilgrimage to Mexico City to see the tilma of St. Juan Diego.
prayed that if he
had a vocation, it would be made known to him.
Upon returning to Mesa, he
received a holy card with an icon of Christ.
turned it over, there was a personal prayer for vocations that asked God to make it known if one had a vocation to the priesthood.
"My first reaction was to put it back," Fr. Greb
said of the holy card.
took it and began saying the prayer.
A few days later he
had a dream in which he
saw two people arguing over Hebrews 5.
At the time, he
didn't know anything about the Bible and was amazed to turn to the Scripture passage and read: "every priest has been taken out of mankind… God is the one who calls him."
Shortly thereafter, he
entered Mount Angel Seminary
Fr. John Greb
has a "fire his
belly for preaching" but he
also enjoys four-wheeling in his