From lawyer to priest: new bishop tells story of unexpected call to priesthood

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Msgr. Robert McClory is the newly-appointed bishop of Gary. He is originally from Detroit, where he has been a priest for 20 years.

McClory received a law degree and worked as a lawyer for three years before entering the seminary at 30 years of age.

Bishop-elect of Diocese of Gary, Indiana

“I began to realize that the things I was doing outside of the law, like leading a youth group, or helping with the young adults group or planning retreats or going on retreats, that that was what was giving me a real joy and fire. FLASH. So that was the piece that I got, that I should enter the seminary, and then the Lord just took me step by step from there.”

McClory shares the hesitance and concerns he experienced even after having entered the seminary.

Bishop-elect of Diocese of Gary, Indiana

“I felt that I was called to the diocesan priesthood, but I wanted to make sure that it wasn't, it wasn't a lonely life. It could be a life of some solitude, but not loneliness. FLASH. I didn't want to be lonely, I wanted to be in relationship, and God has taken care of that more than ever I could imagine.”

His new appointment as bishop was just as much, if not more, of a surprise. McClory remembers he was watching his high school football team at the playoffs when he received the call from the nuncio.

Bishop-elect of Diocese of Gary, Indiana

“Then he said, 'Are you driving?' I said no, and then he said that the Holy Father had appointed me to be the bishop of Gary. So, you know, if this is the will of the Holy Father, then I accepted that, and again I said 'I'm not worthy,' and he said, 'You're gonna be fine, you're okay.'”

Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit, a long-time friend and mentor to McClory, offered his support.

Bishop-elect of Diocese of Gary, Indiana

“He said that he had confidence that the Lord would use me, and that I had the qualities that he felt were suited to this ministry, which is humbling to hear.”

The new bishop was recently in Rome for the ad limina visits with Pope Francis. He was especially moved by the pope's humility.

Bishop-elect of Diocese of Gary, Indiana

“His heart and his faith were so apparent, and his love for all of us. His love for the people that we serve was just beautiful.”

McClory also remembers one particular day in Rome where he got to shake the pope's hand on three different occasions. Maybe that's one for each year he spent as a lawyer.

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