Priesthood never on chaplain’s radar screen
Atlanta chaplain Fr. Peter Rau says entering the priesthood was a natural fit . . .
Fr. Peter Rau
Born in the New York City area, Fr. Peter Rau relocated to Atlanta when he was a mere 17 months old. Currently pastor of St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church in Roswell, Ga., Fr. Rau calls his fourth pastoral assignment “a very exciting time.” A fan of scriptural rosary and Eucharistic adoration, the priest loves being a part of his parishioners’ lives and the lives of Atlanta’s budding Legatus chapter, which is quickly growing toward its chartering.
Tell us about your call to the priesthood.
I always tell people my call was a direct invitation from Monsignor P.J. O’Connor, the well-known vocations director here in the Atlanta archdiocese.
One day in the seventh grade he asked me if I ever thought about becoming a priest. And I distinctly remember saying to him, “That’s the craziest thing you could ever do with your life.” Well, I’m embarrassed about that now. But it was always something I kept in the back of my mind. After college I entered the seminary and one year became two, which became three, and it was a natural fit.
How did you become acquainted with Legatus?
I’d known about Legatus, but when I became pastor of my current parish, which has a lot of professionals as parishioners, two members of the Legatus chapter in Atlanta approached me about becoming their chaplain. I accepted because I thought it was something very important to help professionals advance the Gospel in their own professions.
What impact has Legatus had on the Atlanta archdiocese?
I find encouraging the very fact that Catholic men and women are drawn to Legatus to be examples of the Gospel in the world. They’re following Jesus’ model of servant leadership, and they’re very active at the grassroots level at their parishes.
I’d like to see Legatus have more of a presence in Atlanta, that people become more aware of its presence. Right now the chapter numbers about 30, all married couples. Reaching out to those who aren’t married would be a good thing.
How do you approach your role as chaplain?
Right now simply getting to meet members and spreading the word about Legatus in my area. I’m the dean in my area of the archdiocese. Basically I oversee a cluster of parishes, so I’m getting the word out about Legatus. And I am there to address the chapter’s spiritual needs, too — hearing confessions, saying Mass, helping them hear Jesus and helping to make the teachings of the Church real within and beyond the workplace.
Are there any lessons you’ve learned as a priest that are especially apt for business leaders?
As a priest, I always say compassion and understanding are very important. And for members of Legatus, I think it’s important to help them keep foremost in their minds Whom it is they serve and to Whom they belong. It’s a great family we belong to. Helping them understand that on a deeper level is a duty I take seriously.
Are there are any devotions you recommend to Legates?
A good scriptural rosary. Blessed Pope John Paul II offered one. It’s a meditative recitation of the rosary, not just rattling off the mysteries. John Paul offered reflections on the mysteries, really getting into them and how they’re to be lived out.
I’m also a big proponent of spending quiet time in reflection before the Blessed Sacrament. It’s especially important in the rush of today’s world to have that quiet space. I’m so happy to have perpetual Eucharistic adoration in my parish and have people come at all hours to give the Lord that time they set aside.