Every transitional deacon who stands on the threshold of priestly ordination does so at the end of a long journey, but look closer and you’ll find some journeys are longer than others.
And in those cases, such as Deacon Rick Hobbs III’s 30-year trek to the priesthood, the extra time on the journey only multiplies the joy upon arrival.
“The opportunity to be a priest is the most awesome thing in the world,” he said. “I don’t know what the Lord has in mind for me, but I can’t wait to see what unfolds from here. I have already been blessed tremendously.”
Hobbs started down this path at a mere 12 years of age and took two runs at the seminary before putting in 13 years in the business world. Throughout the twist and turns of life, the call remained strong as ever and now, mere days before ordination, he struggles to put his feelings into words.
“Life has been full of surprises for me, and I’m blessed to have experienced them,” he said. “I didn’t understand it at the time, but the crosses God gave me enriched my life so much. I had to learn that things don’t happen on Rick’s time, they happen on God’s time.”
Hobbs said such patience wasn’t always easy to come by but is the fruit of his constant prayer seeking two specific attributes.
“I always saw myself as a man of God, and I was always involved with my church wherever I was,” he said. “The biggest thing that I have learned is what it means to have faith and what it means to trust in God. I used to pray for that all the time and if there’s something that’s changed the most about me, is the depth of that faith and trust. It’s what sustains me.”
Hobbs has been appointed associate pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers and St. John the Evangelist Church in Huntsville, and he is particularly interested in healing ministries such as among older parishioners or those congregants battling addiction. It’s an interest he developed while living in North Carolina, where he spent many hours volunteering at a local nursing home operated by the Poor Servants of the Mother of God. All part, he said, of God’s plan of preparing him for the journey to the priesthood.
“I think what’s different for me at 51 is being able to look back on the trials and the ups and downs and the crosses and the faith and the experiences and now see where it was all leading,” he said. “Having been in the working world, I came in contact with different kinds of people, perhaps, than a guy who went right into seminary from high school. And that’s great because it showed me people in all sorts of circumstances in their lives.
“Now, I’m here, ready to accept whatever God wants from me and help his people wherever I am needed. It’s all about giving; that’s what’s most important.”
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