Father Gregory Hite
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Father Hite

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Date of Ordination:
June 27, 1981

Influences:
Parents, Richard and Alma Hite, and the priests at Gesu Parish in Toledo, Fathers William Hussey and John Lasca.

Interests:
Cooking Italian food, travel, and gardening.

Best thing about priesthood:
“I love being with people.”

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“From my mother’s womb, He pronounced my name.” 

Father Greg Hite has always known he would be a priest.

“From my mother’s womb, He pronounced my name,” he says of his early awareness that God was calling him.

Before he was ordained in 1981, Father Hite had only one moment of doubt. “I was standing in the back of Rosary Cathedral with my classmate Father Bruce Farmer and I turned to him and said, ‘Bruce, have you ever thought about backing out at this point?’ And he said, ‘No.’ And I said ‘OK.’”

Since that day, Father Hite has never regretted his decision. He attributes his last-minute cold feet to “nerves” and 25 years later, says with a quiet confidence that priesthood is the only life for him.

“I love being with people. I love the various experiences that I have in ministry even on a day-to-day basis.”

Whether he’s celebrating Mass, making hospital visits or dropping by the parish school, Father Hite says everything he does brings him into contact with a rich variety of people. “They share their story with me and I’m particularly impressed if . . . they tell me how God lives in their life.”

Father Hite says he always tries to listen carefully when ministering to people because he believes God speaks to him through them. “There have been times in my ministry with young or old that I have been moved to tears. I believe that’s the presence of the Holy Spirit.”

After 25 years as a priest, Father Hite says the Mass and sacraments mean even more to him now than when he was first ordained. “I’m much more conscious every time I celebrate the Eucharist today of the fact that God is here, He is with us.” Beginning each day with the Eucharist, he says, is spiritual food that enables him to go out and do the work he has been called to do.

He also counts on other forms of prayer to sustain him. He prays the Liturgy of the Hours daily and reflects on the scriptures for each day’s Mass. The Rosary and Eucharistic adoration are important parts of his prayer life as well.

When exhaustion sets in after an especially busy day, Father Hite says he sometimes will simply thank the Lord for the graces and opportunities of the last 24 hours, concluding with a prayer of the late Pope John XXIII: “The Church is yours, Lord. I’m going to bed.”

He tries to manage the pressures of being a parish priest by “religiously” taking a day off every week and by pursuing outside interests such as cooking, travel, and gardening.

Father Hite especially enjoys cooking as a form of relaxation. He is particularly fond of making Italian dishes and, although he insists he is no gourmet, says he loves trying recipes from the Food Network and Emeril and rarely makes the same recipe the same way twice.

Occasionally, he is asked if he misses being married and having children. “I guess I’m just very practical and very honest and say, ‘No, I don’t miss being married.’ I don’t think I’m called to that lifestyle. I love my independence and I’ve got all the kids in the world around me all the time. I appreciate my time of quiet and solitude and I know as I get older I would not make a good husband because I have learned to become very independent and I appreciate that independence. But I also know that married couples look at me and realize that they might not be able to do what I do. I think there’s a complementarity there. It’s never one vocation against the other.”

The bottom line, Father Hite says, is that he’s been happy as a priest. “I’ve always felt fulfilled in the work I’m doing . . . I guess I enjoy my priesthood so much that I don’t feel I have sacrificed.”

To someone considering priesthood today, Father Hite would say, “It’s not your choice. It’s God’s choice for you and you need to spend the time discerning how are you going to live your life here on earth. And if God wants you to be a priest, you will know that. You will know as time goes on. There will be signs for you that this is what the Lord wants you to do.”

 
   
 


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