17
Sun, Dec

Father Albert Utzig, S.S.C.

Focus on Father
Typography

St. Mary, Fontana

Q. Why did you become a priest? 

 When I was growing up we would always have Catholic magazines at home. Maryknoll Magazine really sparked my interest. Then in sixth grade, my mother gave me two books for Christmas written by Maryknoll Fathers: The Adventures of Wu Han of Korea and the Adventures of Pancho of Peru.

Both of the books were about boys who were helping their mothers take care of their family.  I felt like I wanted to help those boys. Being their age, I wanted to be there.  Later I got my degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and worked for a glass factory. I was involved in a local church teaching CCD and on the pastoral council. After some years I realized I liked my job, but I wanted to work with people, not machines. I wanted to be a missionary. I found the Columban Fathers and ended up in Korea. 

Q. What do you like to do for fun?

 When the weather is cool, I like to go hiking. I’ve gone to Mount San Gorgonio, Mount Baldy and Mount San Jacinto. In the summer, I like to go swimming in lakes, not pools. I like natural water with fish and weeds, not chlorine. When I was younger I rode my bicycle in the forest, mountains and back roads of Pennsylvania. I also played tennis.

Q. If you could be the patron saint of something, what would it be? 

 There are a lot of things to choose from. I suppose I would like to be the patron of people looking for their way. It’s a broad thing. That could go to mountain hikers, to people searching for their vocation, for couples struggling with their marriages, to boyfriends and girlfriends who are struggling with their relationships. 

Q. What is an important issue facing the Church of San Bernardino?

 I think every person would mention vocations, but vocation is one. This is especially true among Hispanics. There are so many Hispanics involved in the Church; we should be getting vocations from the local Church. The same can be said from every language group. It’s an issue throughout America. What does the lack of vocations mean? That is the question. This is a very active church, a pretty vibrant church. I see the Bishop wanting to see if something can be done with, let’s say, “invalid marriages.” There are also issues with gays and lesbians, making them feel a part of the community. I see a lot of suffering. People with “invalid marriages” wanting to participate, but can’t. I see men and women with same-sex attraction that want to be involved, but they don’t feel welcome.