Raising a man who will listen to the Holy Spirit’s call to a vocation as a priest takes more than a family – it takes the prayers and the stewardship of a diocese.
The Rev. Mr. Jimmy Schibi, who was ordained a transitional deacon Saturday, May 20, wasn’t the son his parents, Mary and Vince, thought might become a priest.
And she had a lot of boys to ponder. Jimmy is one of seven sons, and has four sisters.
“The entire time I prayed that one of them would be a priest – I really didn’t think it would be Jimmy,” she said. “He’s always been a special kid. He was very outgoing and he constantly had friends. I had some boys who were a little bit more quiet and did more fun things – I kind of had them pegged.”
But hindsight has given her maternal insight.
“When I look back on his life, I can see that now. But, it took up to the time he told me he wanted to be a priest to see that, that he was different,” Mary said. “He was a peacemaker and he was number three in the lineup. So he was the peacemaker between the first two and a following three after him.”
Deacon Schibi was a normal kid who did normal teenage things, she said, adding that he went on to college and thought he had his life planned.
“I know his plans were to get married – and then it just hit him,” she said. “He told me he had been pushing (the idea of the priesthood) out of his mind for a long time.”
Mary believes a simple life and a strong connection to St. Patrick Parish in Parsons helped support her son’s vocation.
“TV wasn’t important, it wasn’t an important aspect of our lives. And actually we did not have a computer for quite a while,” she said. “We went to Mass all the time and on holy days, of course, we were there.”
One of the most important influences in her son’s vocation, she believes, are the warm relations the family nurtured with their pastor.
“Father (Michael) Schemm, who vested Jimmy as a deacon, was close to our family,” she said. “He would come over for dinner and things like that. And then Father Jason Borkenhagen, who is our pastor now – although he will be going to Rome – he has been at our house for Sunday dinner nearly every Sunday for 12 years.”
Being able to understand what a priest’s life is like probably helped her son say yes to the Holy Spirit, Mary said.
The parish, which has been praying for him for years, also deserves credit, she said, adding that her father, who passed away in 2014, prayed very hard for a priest.
“When Jimmy told him before he died – of course, he was already in seminary when dad died – Dad was very happy and just pounded on the prayers!”
She also credits her husband’s parents for prayer support.
“I feel like as a parent you don’t deserve the credit. It’s everyone around you,” she said. “So, I think the parents’ job is to make sure the child is around the right people. People who show them the right way who are good examples. And the parents have to be good examples, there’s no doubt there.”