Wired for the Priesthood, Georgia Tech Engineer Follows Heart – Terry Crone

2002 News

 Rev. Terence Crone is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harrel Crone of Memphis, Tennessee. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. In 2001 he earned the master of arts degree from Saint Vincent Seminary, with honor. In 2002 he earned the master of divinity degree, with high honors.

This article is from The Georgia Bulletin of July 4, 2002.

By Priscilla Greear

PITTSBURGH — He started Georgia Tech intent on working in electrical engineering, and got a degree in it. But what Father Terence Crone found was that his mind and heart were wired for the priesthood.

At Tech, he got more involved in church and started attending prayer meetings, and his junior year started seriously considering priesthood. But when Father Crone, 34, applied to become an archdiocesan priest, officials asked him to work and continue discerning. He then worked for three years as a computer network administrator for the state of Georgia before going on to St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, Pa.

Father Crone said he feels his scientific skills will help him open up soul circuits to Christ. “I had friends who were serious about the Catholic faith and the more I learned I felt God was calling me into the priesthood,” he said. “I think they kind of work together, theology and science. I don’t think I’m going to be wasting my scientific background because I learned a way of thinking and a way of looking at different angles that will assist me in explaining the truth of our faith.”

Father J.L. Oglesby, under whom Father Crone served as an altar boy and who also has an engineering degree, agreed that the training, thinking skills and discipline Father Crone acquired in engineering are “of tremendous value in preparation for priesthood.”

“Engineers make good priests,” he said. “There is discipline and exactness about the profession. My engineering background helped me to be able to read blueprints and be able to participate in expansion projects. . . I feel it was one of the best (forms of ) preparation I had for priesthood. . . I’m a great believer, no matter what type of learning you have, you can always use it.”

Father Crone will apply his pastoral and scientific skills as a parochial vicar at St. Michael the Archangel Church, Woodstock. He was ordained June 15 at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. For Father Crone it was the Eucharist that kept him focused on Christ and during seminary he went to adoration daily.

“I feel a call towards that (Eucharist). The Eucharist has been the thing that kept me in the Catholic Church because when I was there (at Georgia Tech) there were a lot of Protestants trying to get me to convert. My litmus test was did they believe in the Eucharist (as the true presence of Christ) and a lot of them did not. And so God did not call me to that,” he recalled. “The thing that kept me going most was the Eucharist, adoration. Every day it gave me strength to continue on, no matter what life seemed to throw at me.”

Father Mario Di Lella, OFM, campus minister at Georgia Tech, had the “great privilege” to vest Father Crone at his ordination. He recalled how Father Crone was one of the first men to keep the campus Catholic Center accounts on computer and served as a lector, eucharistic minister and in other areas. He said that through the work of the Holy Spirit, Father Crone is one of 21 men in his 32 years as campus minister at Tech to have passed through its Catholic Center before becoming priests. He described Father Crone, like many engineers, as straightforward, conservative and very faithful to practicing Catholicism, as well as a good listener, compassionate, loving and persistent. “He always had determination he wanted to be a priest, despite the setbacks.”

A native of Memphis, Tenn., who attended Catholic grade and high schools, he has a history of altar service. “I couldn’t wait until the summer after fourth grade when I could start being an altar boy.” Father Crone recalls the role modeling and strong Christian witness given by Father Oglesby, 82, who attended his ordination.

Despite this lifelong involvement with the church, he went through a time during his pastoral year where he felt disconnected from it, before he got more involved with parishioners, which strengthened him and reassured him of his calling. He’s “nervous and excited” to start his ministry.

“I’ve had six years of studying and really want to apply and get involved with people and have a place I can really feel comfortable in,” he said. “Like any other big step, I don’t feel like I’m quite prepared, but on the other hand I’m really looking forward to it.”