Never Too Old to Serve God

Never Too Old to Serve God

This article is partially reprinted from the Napa Valley Register

by Michael Nissenson

John Morris believes “it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.” The former submarine officer was ordained as a priest earlier this month at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at the age of 72.

For Morris, the idea of becoming a priest came later in life. “I think what we are called to do in our 20s is not necessarily what we are called to do in our 70s,” he said.

Born and raised in Denver, Morris’ education and early goals were far from theological studies, yet serving his country and community was always part of his life. “I think we are called to make the world a better place,” he said.

Morris attended the University of Colorado School of Engineering for a year before being appointed to the Naval Academy, graduating in 1961.

Seven days after his graduation, he married Patricia, his high school honey. “Pat and I knew each other since I was 5 and she was 4. We got engaged while I was in the academy,” he said.

After marrying Pat, Morris began a 20-year Navy career. The young family was stationed in various bases in the U.S. and Europe, with Morris serving as an officer on missile and patrol submarines.

The long patrols under the sea were difficult for the young father. “One time I came home on Christmas Day, after being gone for over three months, and my daughter didn’t recognize me,” he recalled.

Morris decided to become an engineering officer and continued his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he pursued a master’s degree in ocean engineering and naval architecture.

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