Savannah’s Fr. Daniel Firmin felt a call to the priesthood as a teenager . . .
Fr. Daniel Firmin
Father Daniel Firmin, 35, carries a big load: diocesan chancellor and vicar general — and chaplain to three Catholic groups, including Legatus. However, the burden is light: “I keep St. Teresa of Avila’s advice close to my heart: ‘Let nothing disturb you, knowing God is in control.’” He credits his parents for encouraging his vocation. Before marrying and pursuing a call to serve the poor, both had discerned a religious vocation. Their willingness to let God lead gave the second of their seven children the courage to answer his own call.
Tell us about your call to the priesthood.
I thought the Lord was calling me beginning in my teenage years. I didn’t want that at all, but the thought just wouldn’t leave. So after my first year of college, I thought I’d check it out. I was accepted as a seminarian and sent to the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s pre-theology program. After that my bishop sent me to the Pontifical North American College. I said, “OK, Lord, I’m heading to Rome, so unless it’s really clear you don’t want me to go, I’m going.” I went, was ordained a deacon in St. Peter’s Basilica, and was ordained a priest back home in 2004.
How did you become acquainted with Legatus?
I’d known about Legatus, but actually met some members after I was assigned to Savannah a few years ago. First I met Marty Hogan on St. Patrick’s Day, and later John Roth, a parishioner at the cathedral. He attends the Latin Mass I celebrate there. They told me about Legatus and their wanting to start a chapter. I said I’d be happy to assist. I facilitated a meeting between them and Bishop Gregory Hartmayer, who gave them his blessing. I’ve helped and served as chaplain since we had our kick-off meeting in December 2012.
What impact has Legatus had on the Savannah diocese?
Our chapter is still in formation, but Legatus has already had an impact insofar as it’s affecting members in a beautiful way through an increased love for the faith and a desire to learn more. Beyond that, some of our guest speakers have also addressed the local Catholic high schools — speakers like Andreas Widmer, the former Swiss Guard, and Barrie Schwortz, an expert on the Shroud of Turin.
How would you like to see the chapter progress?
After we charter and get critical mass, I’m hoping Legatus will really take off and significantly impact the Diocese of Savannah. Of course I’d like to see us grow in numbers, but more importantly, continue to see the faith impacting members’ lives.
How do you approach your role as chaplain?
I help a lot with recruiting, but most importantly I’m a resource for prayer — like being asked to pray for members’ loved ones going through a difficult time.
I answer a lot of questions about the faith and what’s going on in the Church. I also challenge members, holding before them the importance of faith in their lives, their families and businesses.
Can you recommend any particular devotion?
I use the Magnificat a lot — the meditations, the daily Scripture readings. And the daily rosary is key. Most important is quiet prayer time with the Lord. The necessity of it is something that we really can’t skip. The Magnificat and the rosary help with that.
Take St. Teresa of Avila’s prayer: “Let nothing disturb you, knowing that God is in control. Do not allow the Evil One to disturb your peace.” Keep that peace and that level attitude of “I’m not going to let this disturb me. It will pass. The job will be done.”
MATTHEW A. RAREY is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.