Father Shannon Lucht serves through the good times and the bad
Father Shannon Lucht didn't always plan on becoming a priest, but his deep-rooted faith has always been a very important part of his life.
Lucht grew up in Tioga, N.D., as the oldest of five kids. He said faith and church were always important to his family and he grew up participating in church services as an altar server.
"I grew up in a family of faith," he said. "Church was important. My parents always made sure we went to Mass on Sunday."
Lucht said a few people in town had suggested that he one day become a priest, but it wasn't something he gave great consideration to until years later, though he added there was a small tug there for him during his life. After graduating from high school he went on to pharmacy school.
"Toward the end of pharmacy school those thoughts of priesthood were there again," he said. "At some point I just came to a realization of 'OK God, if this is what you're calling me to, OK I'll try.' So, that was kind of a turning point."
After finishing pharmacy school, Lucht began seminary school in Indiana for five years before being ordained a priest in 2001 to serve the Bismarck dioceses. Catholic priests are typically required to have some sort of bachelor's degree. The degree may be in any field of study.
Before being assigned to Queen of Peace in 2012, Lucht served in Linton for a year and then in Belfield, which also encompassed Medora, South Heart and New Hradec, for 10 years.
Kris Ringwall, a deacon at Queen of Peace, has been at Queen of Peace since he was ordained and has served with others before Father Shannon.
"For Father Shannon and other priests, they dedicate their lives to God and to service in the church and to bring the Sacraments to the people," Ringwall said. "Father Shannon is just outstanding in those capacities and caring for the parish and always keeping front and center a relationship with God and a relationship with those in need and being a guiding figure in our small world. What's important is what we do in our given days and Father Shannon certainly carries that mission out."
Ringwall said people go through challenges every day and serving people through those challenges can be difficult.
"When you look at people's lives and how priests or deacons or others that are serving their ministries in the church every day brings something new," he said.
Mass is an important part of each day, Lucht said. Queen of Peace holds Mass Tuesday through Friday at 12:10 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 8 and 10 a.m. Lucht said the Dickinson community is lucky to have multiple Catholic churches in town with different Mass times, which allow people to attend Mass at a time that works best for them. When he is not at Mass or preparing for Mass, Lucht's day-to-day can vary from writing letters to working on projects or visiting with people in the hospital or at nursing homes.
"Each day is a little bit different," he said. "... But, the most important part of my day is celebrating Mass."
Not only can the day-to-day life be different, but the church's liturgical calendar also varies from season to season.
"Just as we follow our calendar year and the different things that we celebrate in our regular life, the church has a calendar as well," he said.
The liturgical year begins with Advent, the time of preparation for both the celebration of Jesus' birth, and his expected second coming at the end of time. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday. The Holy Thursday evening Mass of the Lord's Supper marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, which includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. The rest of the liturgical year is commonly known as Ordinary Time.
"Of course, Easter and the Resurrection, that's the pinnacle of our Christian faith," Lucht said.
Outside of his life at the church, Lucht said he likes to spend time golfing when he gets the chance, as well as spending time in Medora.
Lucht said faith was always important to his parents, which then became important to him in his life.
"I always tell parents, 'If something's important to you, it's going to be important to your kids.'," he said. "... Just from an early age faith was important but at some point down the line I had to make that faith my own. Sometimes you're going to Mass because your mom is telling you to go to Mass but I think just later on it was coming to encounter Jesus and saying 'Wait, he's real and that's important and I want to be with Him.' When those moments happen then it's not so much, 'I think this what the Lord wants me to do' then it's 'I kind of want to do that, too.'"
Lucht said being a priest is not always easy, but he enjoys the variety of things he gets to experience every day.
"(I enjoy) being privileged to journey with people and assist them on their own journey of faith," he said, adding that comes during the good times and the bad times. "... It's not always easy, in fact, it's very difficult at times, but the joys far outweigh those difficulties."