Service with a side of adventure: Profile of Peter Latouf, M.M.

If you grow up in Detroit with a mom who’s a cop and a dad who works in a steel factory, chances are you learn something about service and resilience. Those traits come in handy in the missionary life, which is where Peter Latouf finds himself now. These days the seminarian is learning Mandarin Chinese to prepare to serve as a priest in Asia.

Following an exciting stint of overseas teaching while in college, Peter acted on a lifelong interest in religious life and found his community, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, through the VISION Vocation Network’s “I saw in the Maryknoll priests the same willingness to serve and spirit of adventure that I had,” he says.

Best part of ministry so far?
Being inspired by the faith of the people I’ve met, especially Catholics in parts of Asia who are being persecuted for their faith and those in parts of East Africa who literally own nothing—yet faithfully walk for miles every day to attend Mass.

Favorite saint?
Thérèse of Lisieux, the “Little Flower,” is the patroness of missions and my personal hero. I try to live by her “Little Way” of letting go of my own selfishness by surrendering to God. I think it’s necessary to do this as a seminarian, particularly one living as I am now, in a completely unfamiliar culture.

Funniest experience with your community?
While visiting a group of Maryknoll priests in rural Tanzania, a herd of cows got loose from a local tribe and stampeded through our camp. They shredded my tent to pieces. For about a week I slept in the back of an old pick-up truck. It wasn’t too funny at the time, but now I can look back on the experience and laugh about it!

Favorite way to pray?
Taking quiet time for myself in front of the Blessed Sacrament is important, but the main way I pray is by getting out and interacting with other people. It’s very hard for me to sit still, so my favorite way to find God is to explore my surroundings, appreciate the beauty of the place I’m in, and sense God’s presence in those I meet.

People would be surprised to learn . . .
I was a contestant on the TV game show Jeopardy in 2009.




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