Fr. Aubuchon’s story is below in his own words:
I was raised near Hermann, MO, about twelve miles south of town on my family farm nearest Swiss, MO. I grew up in my Catholic Faith at St. George Parish in Hermann, MO and received my elementary and middle school education at St. George School. I then attended Hermann High School and felt during the second semester of my junior year a possible call to the Holy Priesthood, which at the time was a daunting thought, however after really growing in my faith over the rest of my junior year and during my senior year of high school, I felt called by our Blessed Lord to enter the seminary in the fall after graduating from Hermann High School in 2006.
In seminary, through grace and part of healthy discernment I learned to take things one year at a time, both with one’s personal discernment, as well as allowing the formation process and Holy Mother Church to have her say in your vocational discernment. Discernment of any of the vocations within the Catholic Church is always a two-fold discernment which is both personal and Ecclesial, which means allowing Holy Mother Church have her input through the formation process as well. I therefore continued to believe that I was being called to the Holy Priesthood and The Church agreed, so I spent four years at Conception Seminary College in Conception, MO discerning my vocation and then another four years of of what is called “major seminary” or “Theology School” at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. I truly loved my seminary experiences and like anything worthwhile, it was not always easy but was truly blessed and an experience that I will never take for granted.
I have three siblings, my older sister Angie, my older brother Andy and my younger sister, Amber as well as my Mother, Darlene and my Father, Roger. You may notice that I am the only not “A” name among my siblings, and this has become a bit of a family joke over the years. My Mom and Dad told me that they ran out of “A” names that they really liked but loved the name “Christopher,” so I am blessed to be a “C” among the “A’s!” “Christopher” also means “Christ-bearer,” so I feel like I got a pretty good deal! God’s providence of me now being a Priest of Jesus Christ who is blessed to “bear” Jesus Christ to others is pretty awesome!
I also have one nephew, Landon from my older sister Angie and her husband David and one niece, Ruthie, from my younger sister Amber and her husband Kyle. Amber and Kyle also have one baby on the way, due December 25th 2018, but they are keeping it a secret as to the gender of their baby until the birth; we’ll see if he or she is a Christmas baby or not, very exciting!
As I mentioned earlier, I grew up on my family farm with row-cropping, hay-bailing and raising cattle and hogs. I still like to go home and help my family farm or other friends as well, in fact, in my last priesthood assignment in Canton, MO at St. Joseph Parish I would often help one of my parishioners there with farm duties, especially with his goat farm. I appreciated getting my hands into farming while in that assignment for the last two years and he appreciated having the help.
I am also a hunter, mostly whitetail deer, a fun hobby that I enjoy and one that simply gets me out into the woods, which is one of my favorite places to be. I also enjoy butchering with my family and friends at my Mom and Dad’s homebuilt butcher shop where we process beef, pork, chicken and deer primarily, including summer sausage and bologna. We always have a great time doing this together and sharing the meat with one another as well as some laughs.
I very much enjoy working with my hands, including metal working and “tinkering” with mechanical things, I’m not especially good at any of that, but it’s a fun hobby anyway. Additionally, I have a great time listening to good music, listening to good audiobooks and watching movies as hobbies as well.
Finally, I love to just talk to people, spend quality time with them and just get to know them; I learned this “hobby” or gift from my Dad especially who simply loves to be with people and have good conversation with them, as do I.
The pivotal year for the beginning of my discernment to a possible vocation to the priesthood was my junior year of High School. Three very important things happened to me and that I experienced as having a huge impact on the beginning of my vocational discernment journey towards the priesthood. The first of those gifts from God was being introduced to Eucharistic Adoration and to powerfully experiencing the Holy Mass in a new way than ever before. I began attending a weeknight time of Adoration followed by Holy Mass every Tuesday evening at this little Parish in the small town of Berger, MO. I had been introduced to Eucharistic Adoration growing up at St. George Catholic Grade School in Hermann, however, it wasn’t until I started attending this Tuesday evening Adoration that that time with Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament came alive for me in my heart. I also began to experience the Mass in a new and more impactful way than ever before, the priest there, Fr. Deken, celebrated the Holy Mass and presided over Exposition and Benediction so reverently and with such love for our faith that I was deeply moved by His example. I began to go every Tuesday to spend this time with Jesus in Adoration and to receive Him in His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. I was also drawn back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this time as it was offered by Fr. Deken during the hour of Adoration. I was hesitant at first to return to this Sacrament because I had been away for a few years and had several sins that needed to be confessed, and so during that time in Adoration, Jesus gave me the courage to return to that Sacrament. Fr. Deken was a tremendous instrument of God’s Divine Mercy for me in that Sacrament, in which I haven’t stopped receiving at least monthly since that time of returning back to it my junior year of high school.
The second very important gift that I received my junior year of high school was spending three days in the hospital’s ICU with my family gathered in the presence of my dying grandmother. When my pastor, Fr. Bill Debo at the time, came to administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick he brought great comfort as a priest of Jesus Christ to me and my family. I also saw important reconciliation happening between some of my family members who hadn’t been getting along or really even speaking to each other for years. I experienced such a loving presence of Jesus in those three days and of His Church through her Sacraments that I was moved to consider if Jesus might be asking me to discern a call to the priesthood. I was so moved interiorly that I felt Jesus ask me in my heart three times in those days in the hospital with my grandmother dying and surrounded by my family if I would be willing to be an instrument of His mercy and love to those families who are experiencing grief and loss like I was experiencing. In those three questions in my heart from our Blessed Lord, in was inspired to say “yes,” all three times. I have been so blessed to have already experienced in four years of ordination as a priest of Jesus the gift of being with many families in this kind of situation of grieving and suffering.
The third significant gift of my junior year was receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation at the hands of Bishop Gaydos, the same hands who would later ordain me to the Holy Priesthood on June 7th 2014. In Bishop Gaydos’ homily at my Confirmation Mass he spoke about vocations and the importance of asking Jesus what it was that He was calling us to do with our lives in following Him in this life so as to receive the gift of the Eternal Life through our vocation one day, which is the ultimate goal of a vocation. When the Bishop was preaching about vocations in his homily, particularly the priesthood, I felt as though he was speaking directly to me and that there was no one else in the church with me; it was a deeply reveling moment of our Blessed Lord speaking right to me heart. This was an awesome, joyful and overwhelming experience all at the same time. I look back at that memory and cannot help but give thanks to God as well as smile because now Jesus has asked me through Bishop McKnight to be the Vocation Director for our Diocese of Jefferson City.
Finally, the last and in some ways the most important piece of my initial discernment to the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ was my experiences in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It was in this Sacrament on a few occasions during high school, after I had come back to confession, that I experienced our Blessed Lord asking me in my heart if I would be willing to be His instrument of mercy for others in Confession as His priest as I had been blessed to receive from Him at the hands of His priests. This along with the questions in my heart during that time with my grandmother dying, were the pivotal moments that I could not escape and are ultimately what brought me to the threshold of the seminary to begin my discernment process, which eventually lead me to the Holy Priesthood. It has been my absolute privilege and gift to have been that priestly instrument of God’s mercy in the confessional on numerous occasions. Blessed be God forever!
I was blessed to travel to the Holy Land my Deacon year of seminary at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary for two week beginning on December 26th; one of those weeks we spent on our silent retreat in preparation for our priestly ordination called the “canonical retreat.” The second week was a great opportunity to tour around to the many and various Holy Sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jericho, etc. While we were on the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus gave His “Sermon on the Mount,” I was down sitting in a little cave-like structure near where it is said that Jesus was preaching His sermon from that day and I just had an overwhelming sense of God’s presence with me, in particular Jesus’ presence. I felt as though Jesus was sitting right next to me, as it says in the Psalms, “He sits at your right hand,” I really felt His presence then more than ever before or quite the same since. This experience was so overwhelming that I was moved to shed some tears of joy from experiencing Jesus’ tremendous love for me and His gentle but assured presence with me as well. I will never forget that day nor that entire pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the place of our Blessed Lord’s Life, Death and Resurrection in the flesh in this life.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, your vocation is what is the best, most perfect and easiest way for you to get to Heaven, why would you not want to ask Jesus what that call and invitation from His Sacred Heart is for you and for your life? Additionally, why would you not want that gift of Eternal Life to be given to your children in and through their vocation, with an openness and prayerful discernment to ask Jesus what that is for their life? I know that you truly want that for them. It is worth everything to follow our Blessed Lord and to do so in the most fulfilled way in and through your vocation.
Please keep in your prayers all of those discerning their vocation and for an increase of vocations to the Holy Priesthood, Consecrated Life, and for Holy Marriages. May your heart be open to your own vocation, to go deeper in it with Jesus if you have already found and are living your vocation. Let us also pray for an openness in the hearts of our young people that they may have the courage to seek out and to say “yes” to their vocation and that you Moms and Dads will be encouraging to your children to pray about their vocation and not to discourage them from the path that Jesus may be inviting them to journey on. We know that this path will lead them to Eternal Life; I know that each of you what that for you children. May God bless all of you and your families. I absolutely love being the Chaplain at Helias Catholic High School for your children and the staff, the Vocation Director for the Diocese and the Associate Pastor of the Newman Center in Columbia. Please keep Fr. Duncan and me in your prayers. Thank you all.