Rev. Frater Jeffrey is a member of the Norbertine Community at Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, PA. He is a newly ordained deacon on his way to becoming a Catholic priest. His vocation story and his personal journey are very different from what you might expect.
Rev. Frater Jeffrey Himes grew up in Downingtown, Pa (Chester County). Upon graduating from high school, he became involved in the music industry. Frater Jeff was a talented guitarist and played in a heavy metal band. His journey from heavy metal guitarist and music industry promoter to a newly ordained Catholic deacon with the Norbertines at Daylesford Abbey is quite fascinating.
Music Industry Insider
Realizing the music scene was centered in California, Frater Jeff journeyed west to the Los Angeles area where he continued to work as a guitarist. He then got a job at Tower Records/Sunset Blvd, immersing himself in the behind-the-scenes work of the music industry.
As Frater Jeffrey shared the story of his intriguing journey, I became aware of his humility. He was quite successful working in California. But as I interviewed Frater Jeff, it became clear that he motivated by a spirit of discovery and learning. On the surface, Frater Jeff was living a successful and fulfilling life in California. But in inspired by his desire to continually learn and grow, he decided to return to the east coast, settling in Greenwich Village in Manhattan where he continued his connection with music.
A Higher Calling
Frater Jeff was an experienced musician and record industry promoter. He worked with some of the most successful pop music and rock acts of the 1980s and 1990s. But he had a growing sense that he wanted to look for something more. Growing up, his family had not been religious, so he began his search on his own exploring different religious traditions and reading religious texts. Along this path he found St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in PA. Himes found a warm welcoming community and discovered that he was drawn to the Catholic faith. At St. Elizabeth Parish, Frater Jeff started down the path to becoming a Catholic through the RCIA process, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Journeying in this process with a caring, faith-filled community led to his full initiation as a Catholic, and he was baptized, confirmed, and received Holy Communion for the first time on Holy Saturday in 2010.
Discerning A Vocation
So often in life, one simple conversation can lead to a world of change. After moving from New York to the Philadelphia area and becoming a Catholic, Frater Jeff was working for a non-profit organization. One day, a friend invited him to visit Daylesford Abbey. Frater Jeff accepted his friend’s invitation, although with some trepidation. This visit ended up being life changing.
At Daylesford, Frater Jeff was greeted and warmly welcomed by the Norbertine priests he met there. They took time to talk with him and get to know him. The conversations continued and the relationship with the Norbertines grew as Jeffrey experienced their spirit of welcome and acceptance. Inspired by the men he met, and moved by the Spirit, Frater Jeff became an affiliate at Daylesford Abbey. Even though he had never been to college and had no formal advanced education beyond high school, Frater Jeff began to formally discern his calling to the Norbertine community. He professed his solemn vows as a Norbertine in 2019. You can view the video by clicking here.
Frater Jeff pursued college studies, earned his Bachelor’s Degree. He is continuing his studies in the graduate degree program at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. These studies and continued discernment through prayer and apostolic commitments will lead to his priestly ordination.
Throughout his spiritual journey, Frater Jeff’s family was supportive, even though they did not have a religious background. The encouragement from his family and the support of the Norbertine community sustained him as he continued to discern his vocation.
Today, Rev. Frater Jeffrey serves as a chaplain at a local hospital and helps with deacon responsibilities at St. Norbert Parish in Paoli, Pennsylvania. Frater Jeff’s humility and sense of service is evident in one-on-one conversations and is apparent in his ministry. Frater Jeff’s welcoming acceptance and care of those he lives and works with is a gift to all who meet him.
Frater Jeff’s journey may seem unlikely. From heavy metal guitarist and music industry promoter to Norbertine priest; Frater Jeff has followed a unique path. But each person’s vocation is a personal calling which is unique to that individual’s experiences. Our vocation is the fulfillment of who we are which includes even seemingly circuitous experiences. But these experiences are the foundation for our vocation. They are part of who God is calling us to be. Frater Jeff draws upon his unique experiences while he serves God’s people as a member of the Norbertine community at Daylesford Abbey.
Considering A Vocation to the Catholic Priesthood
Discerning a vocation to the priesthood is a unique path for each man called by God. If you are seeking someting more and if you desire a life dedicated to God and His Church, take time to discern your vocation with prayer. Begin to research religious life. Seek input from a spiritual director. If you are interested in the Norbertine Community at Daylesford Abbey, click here.