Father Peter F. Vasko, a native New Yorker, entered the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in 1981, after a ten-year career in marketing and public relations. Fr. Peter attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he majored in philosophy and theology. He later attended Duke University in North Carolina for graduate studies in anthropology and received additional training in archaeology at the Franciscan Stadium Biblicum in Jerusalem.
Fr. Peter was ordained to the deaconate in Jerusalem and, in 1987 was ordained to the priesthood in Washington, DC. Prior to his seminary training, he was a member of the Jaycees, Rotary International and the Public Relations Society of America. He is a former member of the St. Ives Society, an organization assisting in the civil rights of Palestinian people.
Actively involved in the international diplomatic community in Jerusalem, Fr. Peter serves as a liaison and guide for the White House through the U.S. Embassy, as well as with the municipality of Jerusalem. He serves as Chaplain for the U.S. Marine Security Guard for the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. In 2008, Fr. Peter was bestowed the prestigious recognition of “Honorary Marine’ by the former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General James T. Conway, USMC. The ceremony was held at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
Presently, Fr. Peter is President of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, an organization created to provide a worldwide voice for Christians living in the Holy Land and to ensure the continued Christian presence in the area.
With extensive live interview experience for both secular and religious media, Fr. Peter has developed a reputation as a skilled and versatile communicator. He is a compelling spokesman and public speaker, who has addressed many Catholic organizations including Legatus International, Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, Knights of Columbus, Serra Club, and Eucharistic Conference in Atlanta. Fr. Peter has appeared on several television specials about the Holy Land that were aired on Discovery Channel, BBC, NBC and CBS and many national radio talk shows. He has been a guest on EWTN’s “Mother Angelica Live” and “The World Over” on numerous occasions. He has also appeared on The 700 Club to address issues concerning the Christian exodus in the Holy Land and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was named one of the “Top Ten People in the Catholic Church” in the January 2006 issue of “Inside the Vatican” magazine
He is the author of “See the Holy Land”, a photo essay of Israel/Palestine and has just finished a new third edition named “Our Visit to the Holy Land”. In addition, he has also completed a 75-minute video about the Holy Land, entitled “On the Road to Christ.” Fr. Peter was also instrumental in the production of “Turning Point: Crisis in the Holy Land,” a television video documentary about the Christian exodus from the Holy Land, and was narrator for the video, “The Life of Jesus: a Scriptural Journey in the Holy Land.” He also co-produced a ten-part mini television series for EWTN entitled ‘THE HOLY LAND WITH FR. PETER F. VASKO, OFM’. His speaking engagements on the Middle East and the Holy Land have taken him to throughout the United States as well as Europe, Asia and Africa.