Meet the Chaplain: Father Steven Roth – Baltimore Chapter
Father Steven Roth, the chaplain of Baltimore’s Legatus Chapter, celebrated his fifth anniversary to the priesthood on June 19. A professional counselor before he entered seminary, Father Roth, 38, uses his counseling background to good effect as pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Church in Baltimore. In 2016, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore appointed Father Roth to be chaplain of the local Legatus chapter. Father Roth spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.
When did you first believe that you were called to the priesthood?
I remember first thinking about the priesthood when I was five years old. Part of the curriculum at the Catholic school I went to was to go to Mass every day. In kindergarten, I remember just being captivated by the Mass. I would come home and play Mass by myself. I would turn my desk into an altar and make the tabernacle out of Legos.
How did you come to decide to enter seminary?
I was an altar server and was very active in my church while I was still doing normal things like playing sports, hanging out with friends, getting into trouble and all that sort of stuff. As I got older, I think I started to get a little distracted from my calling, so I pursued a career in counseling and got a master’s degree. I taught at the university level and did some clinical work. I thought I was spending my time doing good, while constantly distracting myself from what really was my true calling. So finally through some spiritual direction I realized God was calling me to be a priest and I entered the seminary.
Has your professional background in counseling benefited your priesthood?
I feel it’s been very helpful, especially in the confessional in being able to guide people. But also, I meet with people regularly who are struggling with issues, whether it’s within their families, relationships, or even just issues of discernment. I’m also involved with our seminary formation program in Baltimore, working with guys for spiritual direction. Recently, I was appointed to be on the advisory committee for accepting seminarians for the archdiocese.
How do you balance all your responsibilities?
Well, I think it’s certainly a work in progress. I would not say I do it perfectly, but I try to make time for family and friends along with work. I also enjoy lifting weights, running, biking and exercising, and traveling with friends. I certainly try to make prayer a priority and try to balance all those things.
What is it like being a pastor?
It’s really wonderful. I love every day of it. It’s certainly filled with challenges and definitely there are moments of struggle, but I just love it. It’s incredible to be the leader of a community, to really shepherd them, to really be there in every moment, whether it’s a funeral, a baptism, a holiday or simply talking about the finances of the parish. It really is a phenomenal experience for me.
What value do you see Legatus having for its members and the Church?
I continue to be so impressed with Legatus each time that I meet with the group. First, with just the level of dedication and spirituality. They’re all very high-powered, very busy, successful individuals, and how they strive for faith in God and the Church is so impressive. Also, the degree and level of commitment they have is remarkable. When they go into the community in their different roles and capacities, they share in the workplace what they are being enriched by, not just in word but certainly by their example, their business practices, how they treat their staff and the goals and priorities they set for themselves in their businesses. I think our monthly meetings, whether it’s the celebration of the Mass, which I hope is certainly central, but also the different speakers we get each month, help to enrich their faith. It certainly enriches mine.