A life of service: Father Phillip Bloom

Photo: Stephen Brashear Photo: Stephen Brashear

The third son in a family of five boys and one girl, Father Phillip Bloom grew up on a dairy farm in Arlington and on Camano Island. He studied theology in Rome and was ordained at St. Peter’s Basilica. He spent seven years as a missionary in Peru, where he helped found the Mary Bloom Center (named for his mother), which is dedicated to the medical and educational needs of the poorest people in the city of Puno.

What person or experience most influenced you to answer the call to the priesthood?

When I was a senior at Stanwood High, a priest asked me if I had considered a call to the priesthood. I said “No,” but a few weeks later, I was trying to explain some aspect of the Catholic faith to my classmates. One of the girls said, “Phil, I think you are going to be a priest.” We laughed, but a few weeks later God spoke to me. It happened while I was trimming a flowerbed. Surrounded by silence, I had an overwhelming sensation that I could be a priest and that I should be a priest. I’m convinced it was the Holy Spirit. Since that time, I’ve had good days and bad days, lazy days and crazy days, but I have never doubted the priesthood is God’s plan for me.

What do you most enjoy about being a priest?

What I enjoy most is administering the sacraments, especially matrimony and reconciliation. Hispanic ministry has been an enormous blessing.

What gives you hope?

I take great hope from our young priests. In recent years, I have had the opportunity to listen to and learn from them. I’ve been humbled that some want to learn from me — maybe just to avoid my mistakes, but also that my experience has something to offer them.

What does the Called to Serve as Christ campaign mean to you?

Although we are going through a difficult time in the church, I am encouraged that Catholics are willing to make a sacrifice for elderly priests and sisters — and to provide a fund that younger priests can count on for their retirement and medical needs.  

About Father Phillip Bloom

Ordained: December 17, 1971

Favorite Scripture verse: 2 Corinthians 5:20 — “So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Hobbies: Walking Rosie Cotton (my puppy), listening to audiobooks, attending the Shakespeare Festival

Ministries:

St. Luke, Shoreline (1972–75)
St. Alphonsus, Seattle (1975–78)
St. Joseph, Ferndale, with St. Anne, Blaine, and St. Joachim, Lummi (1978–81)
King County Hispanic Ministry and Missions Office director (1981–87)
Maryknoll associate priest in Peru (1987–94)
Holy Family, Seattle (1994–2009)
St. Mary of the Valley, Monroe (2009–present)

The Called to Serve as Christ campaign aims to raise $100 million to strengthen the Archdiocese of Seattle’s priest pension and retirement medical plans, provide support to women religious, and assist key efforts in our parishes. Learn more at CalledToServeAsChrist.org.

Northwest Catholic - December 2019