Called to be a “Father of Mercy”

A Vocation Story
By Deacon Zachery Feldker, CPM
Fathers of Mercy

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts! My name is Deacon Zachery Feldker, CPM, and I am a member of the religious clerical congregation the Fathers of Mercy, based in Auburn, Kentucky. Our primary apostolate is to preach parish missions and retreats, and to assist in staffing parishes in rural and neglected areas.

Looking back, I see the Lord as having first placed the call on my heart during the times of preparation for First Holy Communion and receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. The small flame of that call continued to flicker as, throughout high school and college, I stayed close to the Lord through prayer and the sacraments.

After graduating from college in 2015, I spent three years in youth retreat ministry as a SPIRITUS missionary. During this time, I became acquainted with the Fathers of Mercy at the Shrine of Our Lady of Champion, the only approved Marian Apparition site in the United States, located just outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Those days found me returning repeatedly to the shrine to pray for the Blessed Mother’s intercession. Eventually, I received the courage to approach one of the priests at the shrine and speak with him about the call. When I described to him how I had grown in love for our Lord through developing a special devotion to Mary, retreat work, living in community, frequent confession, daily Mass, and Eucharistic adoration, Father laughed and said to me, “Zach, that’s our life. Why not come visit us in Kentucky?” After a few visits, I applied to join the community and entered in July 2018. I made my first profession of vows on January 1, 2020, and began my studies for the priesthood. 

I thank God for the formation I have received at the Josephinum. The priests here are models of Jesus Christ; their faithful and dedicated example helps us seminarians to persevere through days of intensive prayer, study, and formation. The faculty and staff are committed to helping us become excellent priests, and the fraternity among brother seminarians is a priceless gift. All of this makes the Josephinum more than just another school, it is truly the House of Saint Joseph.