As St. Augustine once said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You, Oh Lord.” Our new pastor, Fr. Russ Kovash, says he is living proof of that statement.
Fr. Kovash first began discerning the priesthood when he was a senior in high school. His home parish, St. Patrick in Dickinson, had a “called by name” program wherein parishioners would put the names of parishioners they thought would make good priests and religious in the collection basket, and the parish would pray for those individuals.
“The pastor came up to me one day and told me someone had put my name in the basket,” Fr. Kovash says. “He told me, ‘Someone thinks you would make a good priest.’ And that was the first time the idea of a vocation to the priesthood was placed on my heart. I hadn’t even thought about it before then.”
But as a high school senior, Fr. Kovash was not in a place to dive deep into vocational discernment, so he let the thought lie, and continued to pursue other dreams.
An entrepreneur at heart, Fr. Kovash built a very successful insurance and financial services business from the ground up, and it was flourishing.
“My business was growing,” he says. “I was making good money and seeing massive success, but the more money I made, the more restless I got.”
It wasn’t as if he wasn’t happy. He was living the good life. With a farm, a wonderful family, and a thriving business, Fr. Kovash was living the dream. Yet, the restlessness in his heart continued to grow deeper. He knew God had more in store for him.
“I would go into my office every morning, sit at my desk and pray, ‘Lord, what is it you want me to do? I know this isn’t it,’” Fr. Kovash says. “For years, I asked God that.”
And as the restlessness in his heart continued to churn, Fr. Kovash began to investigate the possibility that God was calling him to the priesthood.
“It wasn’t one experience or event that led me here,” he says. “It was over 20 years of discerning — of praying and being open to what God had planned for me.”
Meanwhile, Fr. Kovash says he can remember one particular parish mission he attended at his home parish when the presenting priest’s message struck him at the heart.
“That was a big moment for me,” he says. “It led me to do more digging and talk to more priests.”
And at the age of 38, Fr. Kovash finally entered the seminary ready to see if that was, in fact, where God was calling him!
“I sold my business and broke up with my girlfriend and began my studies,” he says.
And sure enough, he hasn’t looked back!
“I am right where God wants me to be,” Fr. Kovash says. “This is what I was meant to do.”
On July 1, we will welcome Fr. Kovash to Ascension as our new pastor — the next step in his priestly journey, where God has called him to be. He is excited to be here, and we are most grateful to have him!
“I am very much looking forward to serving as pastor at Ascension,” Fr. Kovash says. “I am looking forward to getting to know the people here and continuing the work that the good pastors before me have done.”
Fr. Kovash comes to us from St. Joseph’s in Williston where he served for the last 11 years, caring for the main parish as well as two mission parishes. He is eager to be here and asks that we pray for his tenure.
“I know the good people of God pray for priests,” Fr. Kovash says. “I ask that you please pray for me — that I will remain faithful to my call and be a good priest and father to the people here.”
Welcome, Fr. Russ Kovash! We are so excited to have you!