From Atheism to the Priesthood 8

Fr John Bartunek, LC

Fr John Bartunek is a good friend of mine. I’ve known him for almost 20 years and worked with him as a professor at the seminary for the past two years.

Fr John is a masterful preacher and spiritual writer. His Catholic bestseller, The Better Part, is a Christ-centered resource for personal prayer (that’s actually the subtitle; there’s really no better way to put it).

He also writes for two blogs: Catholic Spiritual Direction (runner up for’s best Catholic blog award, after Fr.Z’s What Does the Prayer Really Say) and Uncle Eddy’s Daily Spiritual Vitamins (short letters from Eddy to his nephews and nieces on the saint for the day). Here is an excerpt from Uncle Eddy’s letter today:

5/22 St Castus and St Aemilius, martyrs (entered heaven in 250)

Dear Emily,

Are you really surprised by your inability to overcome those stubborn bad habits?  May I ask why?  Do you think yourself so strong as to be able to free yourself from sin forever?  My dear niece, be very careful.  We can respond in two ways when we fall: one of them is dangerous; the other is glorious.  The dangerous way comes from spiritual pride; it consists of anger (“Argh!  I can’t believe I did it again!”), frustration (“This stinks!  No matter how hard I try, I can’t make any progress.  What’s wrong with me?!  Why can’t I get over this?!), or discouragement (“That’s it.  Forget it.  It’s just not worth it.  I stink.  I can’t improve.  I give up.”)… [read more]

Fr John’s journey from atheism, to Christianity, to Catholicism, to the priesthood has always intrigued and inspired me. As he mentioned in the video, one of the strongest catalysts in his conversion process was his experience of art during his semester in Florence, Italy, as a college student. His telling this story hearkens a visit to the Metropolitan Art Museum when Fr John gave an exegesis on this piece:

Blue Panel, Ellsworth Kelly (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

When I think of this, it reminds me, God draws straight with crooked lines…

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  1. Dear Fr. John Bartunek:
    Thanks a lot for your example and testimony! Greetings from Brazil! God bless you all!
    Eduardo Laurindo ex- LC.
    Now I´m a RC!
    Oremus ad invicem!

  2. Dear Fr John,
    Would you consider writing a book detailing your conversion story? Can you further explain your conversion to being a Christian, from being an aethiest? How did the evangelicals convince you that God existed and then that Christ is your savior? Then, how were you drawn to the Catholic faith from your experiences in Florence and the art that your studied there? This is so intriguing!

    • Hello, Elizabeth. Fr John, though a good friend of mine, is not an author on this blog. I just like to share his good stuff from time to time. I will be chatting with him soon and I’ll let him know about your comment and invite him to get back to you on it. Thanks for your comment and God bless!


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