Many look for priests at Mass, or in the confessional. Maybe you can even find one in a Catholic school or at the rectory. But if you want to find Fr. Canon Jean-Baptiste Commins, look on the ice!
Father Commins, 27, of St. Francis de Sales Oratory of St. Louis was born in France of a military family who moved 12 times during his young life. He lived a year in New Hampshire where he learned to skate. He felt he was called to the priesthood when he was 12 and at 18 he got his “true sign” when he was praying in adoration. He picked up a basket with folded papers of saints and prayer intentions. “The one I picked was St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney; ‘Pray for priestly vocations,’ ” and he just knew he was being called to the priesthood. He was ordained 2 years ago.
While many priests, when they go out, may wear street clothes or black shirt, pants and white collar, Fr. Commins lives his faith while gliding along the frozen waters wearing his cassock and white collar at least once a week at St. Louis, Missouri’s, Steinberg outdoor rink. Commins said in his French accent, “With the cassock, it has a real power, too. Because many people ask me where I am from. They ask if I am a real priest. It helps me be a real apostolate for the church. It shows that we can have a priest doing normal stuff like sports.”
By living his faith out loud and sharing the joy Christ, he has actually brought many to visit his parish, the Gothic style St. Francis de Sales Church in St. Louis.
Ice skating in his cassock isn’t his only talent either…he also went snowboarding in his habit while in the seminary in the French Alps (unfortunately, there are no pictures of that).
To read more about the ice skating priest, check it out at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch