Father Eric Zegeer of All Saints Catholic Church in Sunrise.

Father Eric Zegeer of All Saints Catholic Church in Sunrise. (Mike Stocker, Sun Sentinel / March 7, 2011)

Rev. Eric Zegeer

Title: Parochial vicar (assistant pastor) of All Saints Catholic Church, Sunrise.

Education: Degree in theology and philosophy, Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio; master's degrees in divinity and theology, St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, near Boynton Beach.

Personal: Age 33. Born in Evanston, Ill.

You've said that Pope John Paul II influenced you to become a priest. How?

His life and story inspired me. I went to World Youth Day in 1993 in Denver, and found him extremely loving and affirming. He was an elderly gentleman speaking to youth, not to condemn or correct, but who saw gifts of passion and idealism. He encouraged us to use them to spread the good news of Christ.

Favorite part of your work?

Being on both sides of the confessional, both as a penitent and as a confessor. There's nothing more life-changing than the mercy of God.

Hardest part?

encountering the brokenness of people. I so often see physical and sexual abuse, abandonment by a parent, people who have come to this country undocumented, separated by families, with no way to make a living here.

What do you do to relax?

On my day off I like to sleep in. I don't get a lot of sleep during the week. I also love visiting parks and spending time with my parents, and families of friends that are close to mine, just playing, talking, sharing a meal.

Favorite pastime?

Going to a gym two or three times a week. Lifting wgts is great to relieve frustration.

Favorite TV shows?

"Dirty Jobs," or shows on The Military Channel. And stories of men in Iraq, what they go through.

Favorite film(s)?

Ignatius press has been putting out a lot of DVDs on the lives of saints. I really enjoyed one on Padre Pio. I also loved "The Blind Side." It's a story of hope, overcoming racism and poverty.

Favorite music? Favorite performer(s)?