St. Peter’s has a long history of vicars learning about the ministry during their internship year. Our new Vicar, Pal Pusztai, will start his year of service at St. Peter’s on Sunday, July 2.
We’ll have several months to learn about your joys, passion and call to the ministry, but perhaps we could have a foretaste of the things to come. Could you tell us a little bit about your background?
St. Peter’s: Where did you grow up and what is a favorite memory that took place there?
Vicar Pal: I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. My favorite memory is the time I was given the opportunity to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra (on 2nd Oboe and English horn).
St. Peter’s: What is your religious background, and how did you get to Lutheranism?
Vicar Pal: I was raised Baptist and was baptized at the age of 12. Upon coming of age, I left the Baptist church for the Hungarian Reformed Church (Presbyterian). After leaving Ohio, I remained Presbyterian until I “married” into the Lutheran (ELCA) church in 1990 after having fallen madly in love with a Hungarian Lutheran woman. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last, but the Lutheranism did!
St. Peter’s: Could you briefly tell us how you came to be a seminary student preparing to become a pastor?
Vicar Pal: The call to ministry for me was long and drawn out. Having always been very religious from as long as I can remember, it was not until I became Lutheran that “things just clicked” for me as a Christian—I attribute this to the work of the Holy Spirit. I had been a Lutheran for just over a decade shortly after the millennium when the initial call to ministry was sensed. However, life events got in the way and the call at that time was never realized. The call returned years later. After much prayer and discernment, I decided that I would realize the call to eventually become a Diaconal Minister (Word and Service). However, after more prayer and discernment (and I am sure the Holy Spirit was right there alongside me to guide me!), I attended a weekend retreat at LTSG (now United Lutheran Seminary) where I realized that I had more to offer to serve the church and therefore decided to pursue the call to ministry in Word and Sacrament with the goal of eventually becoming an ordained pastor. I began my journey at seminary to realize the call to ministry the day after I left my job as a senior-level civil servant in the Federal Government.
St. Peter’s: What’s the hardest class you’ve taken at seminary?
Vicar Pal: Biblical Greek
St. Peter’s: This last question is the big, serious question. Which do you prefer, chocolate or vanilla?
Vicar Pal: Vanilla