MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. --
At a very young age most people have an idea of what they want to become when they are older but never really stay true to those premature aspirations.
Some want to be doctors, nurses or even astronauts, but Father Eric Hoog, Marine Corps Air Station New River’s newest Catholic priest, knew from the very start what his calling was and stayed true to it.
“I felt called by God,” said Hoog. “It’s one of those funny things I knew even when I was a small boy, that becoming a priest was something I really wanted to do, so I just simply pursued it.”
Hoog attended Catholic schools in his youth and he attended college and graduate studies with the Redemptorist Fathers and Brothers.
Hoog became a priest at the age of 25, June 17, 1973. After 25 years of being a priest he joined the Navy and became a Navy chaplain in 1998 at the age of 50.
“The reason I became a Navy chaplain was because the Navy was in need of Catholic priests, so I decided to join,” said Hoog.
During his nine-year tour as a Navy chaplain, he went on three deployments, served as a chaplain for seven different units and served in five different locations in places as far as the Virgin Islands and as close to home as Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
After his tour as a Navy chaplain, he decided to take a five-month sabbatical.
“A sabbatical is essentially a long leave for priests,” said Hoog. “I decided to take some time off after 33 years or so of being a priest so I could get some studying in, but I tell everybody that I mainly majored in newspapers and espresso.”
Hoog went to St. Mary’s Church in Annapolis until 2011 when he was contracted to be the Catholic priest for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for a year.
After his one-year contract was up, he preached in Ephrata, Penn. Then, he traveled to Jacksonville again and was chosen to be the priest for the air station.
Hoog joined the MCAS New River family, Sept. 1.
“My primary goal here on New River is service for the immediate community that is aboard the air station, doing the Catholic services, counseling and, of course, confession,” said Hoog. “My real first immediate goal is to be of service and to become visible to the personnel so that they can know they can turn to me.”
Father Hoog will be leading Catholic mass Sundays from 9 - 10 a.m. and on religious holidays from 6 - 7 p.m.