Leonard Long

Date of Ordination: May 9, 2009
Current Assignment: Saint Thomas, Brigantine

About 30 years ago I had what my pastoral care teacher called an interruption in my life. Like most baby boomers I was really into money and material things. I worked two jobs, seven days a week, for over twenty years.

In my spare time I worked out with weights and competed in many power lifting and weightlifting events. All of those things were very important to me. They were my priority. Then things changed.

A series of deaths of some relatives and a good friend caused me to reevaluate my life. I began to search for some meaning to life. I began to read books about spirituality and God. One book about Mary, the Mother of God affected me overnight. I began to do the things that she told us to do at Fatima, Lourdes and other places that she has appeared. I began to pray from the heart, especially the rosary, to go to daily mass, to fast, and to read scripture

I wanted to do more with my life to serve the church, but did not know what that was, until I had to plan a funeral for my wife’s mother. When I called the church, they told me that there were no priests available and that we had to have a deacon! At that time, I did not even know what a deacon was. Deacon Joe Becker did a wonderful job and my wife suggested that I look into becoming a deacon. After a few years of discernment, I decided that was what Our Lord wanted from me. That year I applied and entered formation. Six and one half years later, I was ordained. It was the best decision that I ever made!