Monk Highlight: Father Peter

Shy Yamasaki, Staff Writer

When Fr. Peter was younger, he was fascinated with the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Mass. He was also intrigued with what the presider and servers did at the altar with the community responding to what was going on. In response to this, Fr. Peter became a server in the church and learned the ceremonies. Afterwards, he studied the traditions and histories of the Roman Catholic Church which led him to discover monastic life. The essential roles in forming the Roman Catholic Church and their orderly lives interested Fr. Peter.

The process of becoming a monk takes a while since one has to go through periods of time through each stage. There are four stages to becoming a monk and an application process involving interviews, background checks, and short stays with the monks. The initial stage of discernment lasts a year or more before living in the monastery. The next stage lasts about six months called postulancy, which is having to make a one-year commitment to study and stay in the monastery. This year is called novitiate, which is very busy, and the monk takes up a new name that symbolizes their new life being led. If the individual decides to commit long term to the monastery, he will make first vows. With that, the novice becomes a Junior Monk, a title lasting three years, who will lead lives of work or study depending on their skill sets. At the end of the three years, to commit to becoming a monk a Junior monk makes their solemn or final vows.  

Fr. Peter said “Being a monk isn’t for everyone. If one does not fully invest oneself into monastic life, it can quickly become tedious, lonely and burdensome. It requires continental growth in internal and moral strength. Like being in a marriage, one’s love must grow and adapt as time goes on from infatuation to romance to appreciation to full acceptance that one’s spouse is life’s vocation. While life as a monk has its challenges, I am completely happy with my decision to be here at Saint Martin’s.” 

His main reason for becoming a monk is that God has called him to be here and His Providence led him towards the Pacific Northwest. He said he is also very introverted and naturally meditative, comfortable with silence, functions best in a structured environment, his needs are simple, and he loves liturgy and ceremonies. 

Besides working in the monastery, Fr. Peter will begin his Doctorate in Ministry. He works a tremendous amount counseling students and strives to keep his ears open to what they struggle with, offering to share some wisdom back to them. Since he was a child, he loved throwing frisbees, and he loves to play disc golf in his free time. In the past, he enjoyed backpacking and hiking. Otherwise, he enjoys audio books and history and theology. Fr. Peter highlighted that he and the other monks form a family bond amongst themselves, and that it is similar to living with a bunch of uncles, cousins and nephews. 

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