Fr. Birchall

From urban planning to God’s plan

  • May 16, 2014

TORONTO - As a young man, Fr. Scott Birchall always pictured himself as an urban planner, not a priest.

“I never really thought I wanted to be a priest as a youth,” said Birchall, 32. “Not that I saw anything wrong with being a priest. I just said that I have my own different goals in my life, what I wanted to do. Seriously I thought urban planning was my calling. Boy, was that a mistake.”

Birchall didn’t realize the error of his ways until already holding an urban planning degree from the University of Waterloo and a job at a firm in Barrie, Ont., even though God kept calling along the way.

“The thoughts of priesthood entered my mind while I was going through undergrad but I dismissed them saying that is not for me,” he said. “After completing my degree, the thoughts of priesthood kept creeping into my mind while I was doing my masters degree but with stronger force. I would just be sitting at my desk, just thinking about the priesthood, and I didn’t know where this idea was coming from or why I was thinking this way but I couldn’t shake it.”

So after settling into his career Birchall became more involved with his parish in Richmond Hill.

“I was helping people in the parish and the funny thing was the more I got involved in the parish the more I loved it,” he sad. “I was spending more time at the church than I was at work.”

So in 2008 Birchall no longer “continued to ignore it,” and answered God’s call by entering St. Augustine’s Seminary. Six years later on May 10 at St. Michael’s Cathedral, Birchall became a priest for the Archdiocese of Toronto. He is assigned to Merciful Redeemer parish in Mississauga.

“I encourage people not to be afraid if that is what God is calling you to,” he said. “One of the best things I ever did for my life was to follow God.”

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