Meet Deacon David Slusarick
Deacon Slusarick has been assigned to Mother of Sorrows Parish, Murrysville for the summer. He is scheduled to be ordained a priest in the Diocese of Greensburg in June of 2024 by Bishop Kulick.
Tell us about your family.
I am the only child of Amy and the late David B. Slusarick. I have been blessed to enjoy close relationships with my grandmothers. My Grandma Berardi just turned 97, and my Grams Slusarick passed away two years ago at 101.
Where did you get your undergraduate degree?
Bachelor of Science in Journalism (2009); Master of Arts in Education Leadership Studies (2011) — both at West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.
Did you have a job prior to entering the seminary? Tell us about it.
I have employment experience in management and marketing roles within higher education (the former Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology), a non-profit organization (Boy Scouts of America Westmoreland Fayette Council) and a small business (Coordinated 360). My job with the Boy Scouts, in particular, helped me to grow as a servant leader, as my role was to empower volunteers with all the resources they needed to deliver an excellent youth development program.
Tell us about some of your hobbies.
Growing up adjacent to my grandparents’ farm, I have always felt at peace in the outdoors. I enjoy reading— novels and spiritual books— and music of many varieties. I love going to concerts! I am also an “adventurous eater” who enjoys trying new foods.
Tell us your vocation story?
For several years, I felt a persistent tug on my heart to serve God via the priesthood. Volunteering with a local hospice aided in my discernment because it strengthened my desire to be with God’s people in difficult moments and bring them the Sacraments. Father Bandura’s patient encouragement and Sister Christine Kiley’s excellent spiritual direction helped me to finally take the leap in 2018.
What is a typical day like for you?
We generally begin our day with morning prayer and Mass at 7 a.m.— I arrive early to fulfill my duties as Sacristans. My classes (four days per week, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.) include courses in systematic theology, moral theology, Sacred Scripture, preaching, liturgical studies, and Church history. Evenings are for prayer, studying, and relaxing. On Mondays, I have choir practice. I work a few hours in our campus library on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On Thursdays, I report to my placement site — Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in West Chester, Pa.— where I teach 2nd and 7th grade religion, visit homebound parishioners with Holy Communion, and periodically lead evening programs for youth and adults.
What do you look forward to in becoming a priest?
The meaning behind the Lord’s gesture of washing the feet of His apostles is particularly meaningful to me. With this image in mind, I look forward to a life of radical service to people, bringing the Sacraments to them and reminding them of God’s never-ending love.
Who would you say has been your biggest mentor throughout this process and why?
I have had excellent Spiritual Directors: Sister Christine Kiley, Father Jerry Simmons (Diocese of Erie), Father Jack Timlin, C.M., and Father John Maher, C.M. They affirm me and challenge me in my relationship with the Lord.
What else would you like us to know about you?
I used to worry that I might “lose myself” (i.e., be stripped of my personality) if I became a Priest. I have come to realize that instead, this journey is more about allowing God to peel back the layers and uncover my most authentic self. Though I am a sinner, He wants me for me, and wants me to use my particular gifts in His service.