October 1, 2023

Father Nick Haiar is our featured priest this month. He was born in Sioux Falls and has two stepbrothers and a sister. He was ordained May 27, 2022, and is serving as a parochial vicar at St. Benedict and Sacred Heart parishes in Yankton.

How did you get your call to the priesthood?

It began when I was in FOCUS while praying with Matthew 16. It was reinforced by the Holy Spirit Men’s Retreat down at Broom Tree. I also had good models of priesthood (diocesan and religious) in my life.

What did you do before the priesthood?

I worked as a CNA for a year at Sanford Hospital and then as a missionary for FOCUS for two years.

Is there a particular part of Catholicism that really fascinates you?

I really enjoy learning more about Scripture, and I enjoy the humanity of the saints.

Who was most influential in your life?

My dad is the most influential person in my life.

What’s your favorite part of being a priest?

One of my favorite parts of being a priest is sharing life with the people, especially young families.

What’s the most challenging thing?

One of the most challenging things is remembering what priesthood is about at a fundamental level. It is easy to get caught up in administrative work or think that it only depends upon me.

Who is your go-to saint? Why?

Mother Teresa is one of my go-to saints. She has been a large influence in my life for many years now. I view her like a beloved grandmother.

What do you do in your spare time?

I read, draw, lift weights and go hunting in my spare time. I generally read history and fantasy like “The Lord of the Rings” or the “Redwall” series. I hunt deer, pheasant, coyote and prairie dogs (though I don’t eat these).

How can your parishioners and people of the diocese best help
you be a great priest?

One of the best ways to help a priest is to live out your vocation: student, married, single, etc. Since we make up the Body of Christ, if all of us are seeking Jesus, then each of us will strengthen one another and give hope to one another. People often tell me that I give them hope, which is a beautiful thing. However, if you as a parent or a grade school student are seeking Jesus, then that will be manifested to others. This gives us priests encouragement and hope.

If you could have supper with anyone from history (besides Jesus), who would it be and why?

I would like to have supper with J.R.R. Tolkien, author of “The Lord of the Rings.” I have enjoyed his works for many years, and I would like to ask him questions regarding themes and literary devices in his books. Did he actually intend for this or that to be Catholic, etc., or is that merely the interpretation of other people?