News Detail
Fr. Kevin Embach, SJ: From Medicine to the Priesthood
by Daniel Meloy
Republished with permission from The Michigan Catholic

Fr. Embach ordained for to the priesthood after 18 years as a doctor

September 5, 2018 — For most of his life, Fr. Kevin Embach, SJ, had two desires: to practice medicine and to serve God.


Fr. Kevin Embach, SJ, was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 2018.

“I had two uncles who were physicians, and I admired them a lot,” Fr. Embach said. “When I went to college, I liked science and helping people so I knew then I wanted to be a doctor.”

Growing up in Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan, Fr. Embach attended the parish high school before moving on to the University of Notre Dame, where his twofold desire intensified.

“I went to Notre Dame for pre-med, where I got to go to Mass every day. By the time of my senior year, I felt this call to the priesthood, but I didn’t know what to do with the call,” he said.

Wanting to serve God’s people, but also still feeling the calling to become a doctor, he completed a master’s in public health in epidemiology at the University of Michigan before entering medical school.

“I said, ‘Lord, let me become a physician first,’” Fr. Embach said. “But the idea of the priesthood didn’t go away. I went to the University of Virginia for medical school, and I came back to the Detroit area, working at Beaumont and Bon Secours hospitals in Detroit with the internal medicine residency program. I liked taking care of patients, but the idea of the priesthood wouldn’t go away.”

After practicing medicine for 18 years at Bon Secours Hospital in Grosse Pointe, Mich., the call of the collar became too much to resist, and in 2009, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Berkley, Michigan.

“My desire to practice medicine and teach medical students was still there, but I love to be a Jesuit and talk to people about God,” said Fr. Embach, who was ordained a priest on June 9 of this year at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee. “The focal point of the synoptic Gospels is the proclamation of the kingdom of God. You see examples of healing and compassion for the sick, healing people spiritually and emotionally.”

During his formation in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in Chicago, Fr. Embach continued his work as a doctor with the Loyola School of Medicine in Chicago, teaching aspiring medical students and organizing mission trips to Haiti, Bolivia and Honduras.

Upon ordination, Fr. Embach was assigned to the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, where he will be teaching intern doctors and caring for the spiritual needs of patients.

“There is a lot of hunger and spirituality for people to know God; that’s something I could see while practicing medicine as a layman,” Fr. Embach said. Now as a Jesuit priest, “the whole concept of Ignatian spirituality is helping people to find God in the world.”

For a man who for so long was torn between medicine and the priesthood, it's fitting that he's been given an assignment where he can offer the daily sacrifice of the Eucharist and train the next generations of physicians to care for the body and the soul.

“What I love about being a priest is finding God in everything,” Fr. Embach said. “Part of Ignatian spirituality is knowing God is very much active in our world.”

“I find God very much behind the science and complexity of our universe,” he added. “There is a great order to our existence, but that order will eventually fail, and we will eventually die. That failing of the human body points to the afterlife, to Christ. Christ found the sick and the suffering, and He healed them. That’s what we’re doing in health care, healing the body and the soul.”

Republished with permission from The Michigan Catholic, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Detroit



Recent News

September 20, 2018 — The event, held during the Global Climate Action Summit, highlighted care for creation.

September 17, 2018 — Today is the feast day of Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621), a Jesuit who was one of the most important cardinals of the Catholic Reformation.

September 14, 2018 — Ever wondered how Jesuits become Jesuits? The total journey toward Jesuit priesthood or formed brotherhood can take from eight to 13 years.

September 13, 2018 — Loyola High School is celebrating its 25th anniversary educating “men for others” in Detroit.

September 11, 2018 — Twenty-six Jesuit novices in Canada and the United States professed first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience this month.

September 10, 2018 — Jesuit institutions were featured prominently on the 2019 U.S. News & World Report annual rankings of the best U.S. colleges and universities.

September 9, 2018 — Today is the feast day of Saint Peter Claver, a Jesuit missionary known as the patron saint of slaves, African missions and interracial justice.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 9/3/18

America 8/20/18

America 8/6/18



Sioux Spiritual Center
The Sioux Spiritual Center, nestled amid the hills of western South Dakota, is the heart of the Diocese of Rapid City’s efforts to develop native clergy and leadership on the reservations.