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Building the City of God

Fr. Michael J. Grady


Born Dec. 7, 1956, in Sacramento, Calif., Father Grady is the third of five brothers (the youngest is deceased). His father served in the Air Force and the family moved often. Father Grady entered the seminary for his then home Diocese of Providence, R.I., right after high school. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Providence College, studied a year at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and nearly two years at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., before leaving the seminary. In order to support himself, he got a job as a desk clerk at a hotel in the nation’s capital and “kept getting promoted” until becoming regional director of marketing for a national chain, a position which ultimately brought him to South Florida. In 1991, he returned to the seminary, entering St. Vincent de Paul in Boynton Beach. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Miami on May 14, 1994, and has served as associate pastor at St. Gregory in Plantation and Nativity in Hollywood, as well as teacher and assistant principal at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale. He was named administrator of St. Jerome in June 2011.

Currently Fr. Grady is Pastor at St. Anthony Church.

When he knew he wanted to be a priest:

At age 18, and then again at 34: “Every couple of years I would have the urge to go back but I would say, no, I’m enjoying my life.” Finally, while working at a hotel in Florida, a Jewish lady who knew nothing of his background said to him, “Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?” A year later, “I made a deal with God. I’ll call (the seminary). They’ll tell me I’m too old. And then you’ve got to leave me alone.” It didn’t work out that way: “If God wants you, God gets you.”

What he would be doing if he had not become a priest:

“I would be doing hotel management, which I loved.”

What he does on his days off:

“I like to be able to sleep late in the morning and go out to dinner or lunch with friends.”

Favorite TV series:

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

‘If God wants you, God gets you.’

Favorite priestly assignment:

“I love the parish because it’s varied. I’ve had it where I’m burying somebody in the morning and marrying somebody in the afternoon … In parishes, people let you into their lives at the most difficult and joyous moments. And this is a great gift of being a priest.”

Greatest disappointment:

“That there is still war in the world. I’m a big advocate of peace. I just see absolutely no sense to the violence.”

Greatest joy:

“My family.”

Most difficult aspect of being a priest:

“It seems there are not enough hours in the day to do everything. And those are the days you’re going to get these sick calls and have to go to the hospital. That’s when I remember the saying, ‘If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.’”

His description of the ideal priest:

“A man of prayer, a man with a sense of humor, and a man who can recognize Christ in everyone.”

Father Michael Grady traveled to Hollywood, Calif., in March 2011 to preside at the wedding of a former student.

Priestly stereotype that should be discarded:

“Ascribing any super human attributes to a mortal man is not really a good strategy. Priests are human like everybody else.”

What the seminary did not prepare him for:

“They can’t really prepare you for diocesan priesthood because their training is structured as if you were entering a religious community prayer together, etc. Your schedules are so busy (as a diocesan priest) that to try to plan morning and evening prayer together every day, that’s not reasonable.”

Favorite type of music:

Classic Motown: The Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops

Person he most admires:

“My grandmother … an incredible woman. She was a tiny little thing, lived to be 96 years old and she just had this wisdom.” Hers was the first family funeral he celebrated as a priest.

Thing he most fears:

“Spiders I’m allergic to them.”