Chris Yakkel says that there have been signs throughout his life that the priesthood might be his future. As a young altar server watching the priest during Easter mass, he remembers thinking, “I could do that.” Then when Chris went to World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, he found it life changing.
He enjoyed getting to know so many young, cool priests, and was amazed at the world church feeling of so many countries and languages all there sharing the same faith. “I remember thinking that at every moment, somewhere in the world, Mass is being celebrated,” says Chris. The third thing that clicked for him was the Eucharist and that God is truly present in the bread and wine. “The Eucharist is a daily reminder that God is with us and loves us.”
Chris is a member of St. Joseph’s Cathedral and claims Ohio as his home state even though he has lived all over the U.S.
“My dad was in the Air Force so I am a military brat. I actually received every sacrament in a different state due to moving so much.” Chris attended Miami University and majored in health and sports studies. He took on leadership positions within the church, and led retreats and mission trips. Chris spent time in adoration praying about God’s intended role for him. He spoke with his college priest and then his family. “I wondered, why go to church once a week when I could go every day?” Soon it became clear that God was asking Chris to join the seminary.
Favorite Activities: Chris regularly runs 3-5 miles per day and has completed 5 marathons including the Air Force, Kentucky Derby and Indianapolis Marathons. He enjoys playing in the baseball, softball and Mudbowl (football) tournaments at the Pontifical College Josephinum. Chris cheers for Cleveland sports teams: Indians, Browns, Cavs, and also loves to read and study church history.
Favorite Music: Christian rap and Christian radio
Favorite Food: “I am Hungarian/Slovakian and my favorite meal is homemade chicken paprikash.”
Favorite Ice Cream: Rocky Road
Something Chris dreams of doing: “I am a co-sponsored seminarian so after ordination I will spend 3 years in the Columbus Diocese, then serve as a chaplain in the Air Force and can be sent anywhere that military personnel and their families are stationed.” During his time in the Air Force reserves as a chaplain candidate, Chris served in Japan, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Eventually he will return to a parish in Columbus.
Something about Chris that people wouldn’t guess: Chris is very interested in space and astronomy and loves to view the constellations through his telescope. “It is amazing how huge the universe is and how small we are. It makes me in awe of God as our creator and that we are the only ones made in His image.”