Early priestly calling and strong family support propelled vocation
Father Daniel Firmin, 40, chaplain of Legatus’ Savannah Chapter, has been an ordained priest for 14 years, and was instrumental in starting the chapter there. He is current pastor of St. James the Less Parish, also in Savannah, and serves as vicar general and moderator of the curia in the Diocese of Savannah.
When did you first consider the priesthood?
Probably when I was between 10 and 12 years old. That was when the thought first occurred to me, and it didn’t leave, even though sometimes I wanted it to leave in high school and college. The Lord just kept calling, and just steadily led me in that way. And through prayer, friends, and their support, it was definitely what the Lord wanted me to do.
How old were you when you entered the seminary?
I was 22, just out of college. I began college with that pursuit in mind, and went to Franciscan University of Steubenville. They had a pre-theology program so I could get my philosophy done while I was doing my undergrad work and working toward my degree in humanities and Catholic culture. The whole idea was, if the Lord was not calling me to the priesthood, I’d need to launch into the next phase of my life, which I thought might be law school.
Did you grow up in a Catholic family?
I did, in a very strong Catholic family. My parents were wonderfully devout, and real examples of faith and trust in the Lord, and service and love. The two of them are saints in my book. Their faith, their love of Christ, and love of the Church was palpable in our family. I was very fortunate to have their example to guide me.
How did you come to be acquainted with Legatus?
It began when I was at Steubenville. I might have read some things about Tom Monaghan. Then, when I was at the North American College in Rome for seminary, I got to know more about Legatus while being in that Catholic milieu, which was a wonderful gift, and it exposed me to Legatus and members of Legatus in different ways.
How long have you been the chaplain of Legatus’ Savannah Chapter?
Since it launched in 2012. I was approached by two members of Legatus to help begin a chapter here in Savannah. So I did, under Bishop [Gregory John] Hartmayer.
What has your experience been like as a Legatus chaplain?
It’s been wonderful. I’ve just been so edified by the faith of the members and just how they live their life, their family lives, and seeing their love for the Lord and their love for the Church grow. That has all been a blessing for me. Legatus is one place where their faith really grows and it stretches them.
What value do you see Legatus having for its members and for the Church?
Anything that helps strengthen the faith of the people of God, and helps them grow in relationship with Jesus and in relationship with the Church, I’m all for it and I will support it. I think Legatus does that in a very good way. Legatus creates a wonderful atmosphere where people can delve deeper in their faith. They can grow and be strengthened in their love for Jesus and their love for the Church. It provides an environment, a methodology, a program, a way of life for people to support one another in their faith. Having that connection and community is very much needed in today’s world.
Who are your spiritual role models?
John Paul II, for sure. My mother and father, definitely. Various saints. St. Francis is a good patron. Mother Teresa, as well.
Do you have any hobbies you enjoy in your free time?
I enjoy throwing darts, walking, and hiking in the woods, and reading of course. I love watching soccer and football. I also like to play golf.