After graduating from high school, Father Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, C.F.R., spent a year traveling across the country with his friends. On the road, he saw “so many beautiful things.” Along the way, he also encountered God.
“The trip opened me up to the reality of God, and it took off from that moment,” he said, recalling his adventures in the Jeep Cherokee visiting almost every one of the 48 states in the continental United States.
Father Jeremiah, the son of John and Kathy Shryock, was born in Barto, Pa. He and his friends started the road trip that transformed his life in their home state and traveled west.
“I wasn’t happy in my life,” said Father Jeremiah, who told of playing in bands and living a life that “wasn’t fulfilling.”
“It wasn’t the best atmosphere,” he said.
Father Jeremiah, 31, faced personal struggles on the road to the priesthood. Among them was “saying goodbye to a certain lifestyle, certain friends.”
“The priesthood isn’t that popular,” he said. “I didn’t care what anyone else would think. I wasn’t intimidated.”
He continued to discern his calling and take his faith more seriously while studying philosophy and writing at Kutztown University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 2002.
In college, he studied philosophers of all backgrounds—including many atheists. He observed, “Most of the philosophy majors certainly weren’t religious.” Instead of raising doubts, the atmosphere solidified his convictions of the need for God.
He said that his emerging faith put everything into the proper perspective. He contemplated questions such as, “Who am I? What is the purpose of life? What am I supposed to do with my life?” he said.
“All those questions, God answered,” he added.
Once he realized his need for God, and that happiness and peace were found in him, “I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do than follow him completely,” he said.
He entered the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in 2002.
As a priest, he feels a strong call to serve as a spiritual director and confessor. “I know what it’s like to be searching and have questions,” he said.
Of the role of a priest, he said, “We really need human guides to help us along the way. We don’t go to God alone.”
Father Jeremiah will celebrate his first Mass at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Bally, Pa., Sunday, June 5, at 10:15 a.m. The homilist will be Father James Atkins, C.F.R., spiritual director.