By Jeff Miller
Special to The Texas Catholic
Deacon Paul Iverson’s Magellan route toward the priesthood saw him spend 10 years in the working world, stray from his Catholic roots and begin a spiritual reawakening that included a seminal dinner conversation 11 years ago with a woman whom he planned to marry.
The couple’s disconnect over their faith future helped point him toward his Ordination Mass at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas on May 30.
“I did a lot of soul searching,” said Iverson, 36. “Now, I don’t have any confusion about what I’m supposed to do with my life.”
Iverson’s decade in the secular world included 7 1/2 years working for Texas Instruments. Coincidentally, he spent his seminarian pastoral year in 2012-13 learning from a priest who worked for eight years after earning a degree in electrical engineering.
Father Don Zeiler of St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church in McKinney said his own shift toward priesthood featured a “wake-up moment” during which he realized he wasn’t doing what God called him to do.
“And I think Paul had a similar experience,” he said.
Iverson attended a vocations retreat at the suggestion of fellow parishioners at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Wylie.
Iverson describes himself as having an insatiably curious intellect. “And I like people a lot,” he added.
Father Zeiler said the pastoral year provided Iverson the opportunity to “get out of his head and go with his heart.” One St. Anthony parishioner indicated Iverson has done just that.
“He has the unique ability to make himself one with whoever he’s talking with,” said Pat Conway, a parishioner since 2000. “He’s going to be one of the leaders of our diocese in the future.”
Iverson’s hobbies include the guitar and reading “really depressing 19th-century Russian novels.”
Iverson received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Dallas while attending Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving and just completed his graduate studies at St. Mary Seminary in Houston.
Iverson has been assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Frisco, where he will begin in early July.
The morning following his ordination, Iverson will celebrate Mass at his home parish in Wylie.
But before that, Iverson’s first Mass as a priest will be celebrated just hours after his ordination – the Saturday evening Mass at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in McKinney.
Father Zeiler said with pride: “We’ll get a chance to see Father Paul.”