Father Kishore Kottana began serving as the new associate pastor at St. Mary Church July 1, and said "it is a blessing to be accepted and welcomed in a new community."
Kottana, who formerly was associate pastor at Maumee St. Joseph, was ordained a priest in the Toledo Diocese in 2009, and said he first felt the calling of God on his life when he was 4 years old.
Kottana said he was raised in a "good and faithful Catholic family," and his mother taught him and his four siblings Bible stories, the lives of the saints and the life of Jesus. His family is from India, he said, and in a biography released by St. Mary, Kottana said he "witnessed material poverty and sick families and the dying people on the streets." He said that exposure also was part of his calling to serve God as a priest.
"Deep inside, I wanted to be like a saint," he said.
"Come, follow me," was a prompting from God, he said, that was revealed to him, and Kottana said it took courage to listen to God's voice and follow him.
When Kottana was 23, he said, he heeded God's call, and began attending seminary in Rome. During those seven years, he said, he experienced Mass with Pope John Paul II and sang in the choir at St. Peter. His time in Rome, he said, "taught him to think universally."
Prior to attending seminary, Kottana said, he worked as a technician aboard warships and submarines.
After completing his seminary studies, Kottana came to the United States and served as a deacon at St. Joseph Parish in Paulding, St. Wendelin in Fostoria and St. Mary in Sandusky, after which he was ordained as a priest and assigned to Maumee St. Joseph, where he said he taught prekindergarten through eighth-grade students.
As associate pastor at St. Mary, Kottana now teaches at Calvert High School and said he feels the importance of "being there in the lives of students."
Young people are living in morally and financially challenging times, he said, and "their simplicity, their struggles and their hopes enrich me."
Kottana said he hopes to draw attention to holiness and faithfulness in the parish and at Calvert Catholic School. "I like to celebrate Masses and hear confessions," he said. Being God-centered is of great importance, he said, and stressed the importance of the sacraments in the Catholic faith.
Kottana said he hopes to see an increase in the number of people who faithfully attend Mass. He said during his time at St. Mary, his focus will be on having a "faithful prayer life and being there for the people (of the parish)."
Kottana said he is grateful to have Father Gary Walters, pastor at St. Mary, as "someone to look up to."
"Father Gary is very pastoral," he said, and "Tiffin is blessed to have him."
In addition to his responsibilities as associate pastor at St. Mary, Kottana said he enjoys running and playing soccer. He said he runs occasionally with the cross country team at Calvert, and played on the school's alumni soccer team.