By STEPHEN O’KANE, Staff Writer | Published July 16, 2009
When person after person would approach young Brian Lorei and ask him if he had ever thought about becoming a priest, he would typically respond, “Yes, I thought about it … and I thought, no way.”
The priest, 46, the son of Barbara and the late Paul Lorei, grew up in a family of 10 children in Erie, Pennsylvania. Trained in industrial engineering and with a master’s in business administration, he worked at Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems in Marietta for 18 years.
Father Lorei’s journey to the priesthood began after college, when he was admittedly more interested in the world than his spirituality. He said he did not fully understand the Mass, but he did talk with one of his brothers about the faith. Eventually, he got his hands on some Catholic literature, which served as “the beginning of my journey back to the faith.”
He said even after he began to feel a call to holiness and returned to the sacraments, he still had no serious desire to discern the priesthood. Despite the numerous people he knew who urged him to consider it, he said he was expecting some sort of supernatural sign.
“But in time and prayer, I began to consider that God may be working through the natural world, through other people to speak to me,” he recalled. “Eventually, with the advice of a priest, I got the courage to contact the vocations office.”
“As in any life vocation, there will be the many trials that come our way,” he continued. “But when we understand that all trials are permitted by God, and each trial enriches the soul, these trials will lose their bitterness and our hearts can be at peace.”
As a seminarian, he served at St. Pius X Church, Conyers, and St. Michael the Archangel Church, Woodstock. As a transitional deacon he was assigned to St. Michael Church in Gainesville and Little Flower Parish in Bethesda, Maryland, and also experienced prison ministry and ministry to the elderly in Maryland.
He reached the summit of years of discernment and study when he was ordained on Saturday, June 27, and is looking forward to serving God and the people of the archdiocese through the priesthood.
“There is still much I need to learn as a priest, and much of it is going to be on-the-job training relying on the help of the Holy Spirit,” Father Lorei said. “What gives me hope is when I meet a priest who has been ordained many years who faithfully lives out his priestly vocation in a holy and joyful fashion. Fortunately, we have many priests in this diocese who are great examples.”
“Sometimes the whole journey can seem overwhelming, but there’s been a certain commitment to God in my heart that has risen beyond the work and distractions,” he added. “It’s an ongoing process, so I strive to keep my focus on God, focus on Jesus, pray and trust. God loves us and he has a plan for each one of us. So as I approach ordination, I am at peace, knowing God is in control.”
First Assignment: St. Thomas More Church, Decatur
Father Brian Lorei
Education: Bachelor of industrial engineering, University of Dayton, Ohio, 1984. Master of business administration, finance, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, 1994. Master of divinity, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland, 2009.
Work Experience: Eighteen years at Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Co. in Marietta, serving in various positions in program administration and project scheduling/management.
Hobbies and Interests: Tennis, jogging, golf
Particular Ministries of Interest: Parish work, Gospel of Life ministry
Favorite Quote: “For it is in giving that we receive.”
Most Admired: Blessed Mother Teresa