Thursday, July 30, 2009

The story of my Vocation

It is amazing to see how God works throughout our lives from the time we are born until the day we take that last breath. Looking back now on the short 23 years of being alive I can see how God has worked in my life! One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” This verse means a lot to me, because it is exactly how my story begins:

When my mother was pregnant with me, my parents went to Indian lake with my father’s side of the family. While on this trip a priest friend of the family asked my dad, “Are you ready to have a son?” “I am ready financially, but I just don’t know what I am going to do with him,” my dad answered. Then, Father said, “Don’t worry, God knows what He is going to do with your son.”

Just a few years later when I was about 2 years old my grandmother was reading me a story about the birth of Christ. About half way through, I asked my grandmother “Is there more than one God?” She was amazed that someone as young as I would even is capable of asking such a question, and she knew that God was at work in my life.

Then when I was five years I went to Christmas Eve Mass with my grandparents and the priest let all of the children come around the alter during the homily and Eucharistic prayer. Well, I went up and stood by the priest, and during the consecration I started to interrupt him and ask, “Is that really Christ’s blood?”

Now I should make it clear that even though up to this point most of my experiences have been Catholic while I was not baptized. Throughout the next few years of my life my only involvement with church was Christmas Eve Mass with my grandparents.

During my senior year of high school I started attending a Baptist Church every Sunday and was baptized. I also applied to the Naval Academy and a few Christian Colleges (my dream was to enter the Naval Academy and become a fighter pilot). Then on my last night of spring break, I prayed to God, “Do you want me to join the military, or enter the ministry?” The next day, I came home from school and got the mail. I received two letters in the mail; One being a rejection letter from the Naval Academy, and the other being an acceptance letter to a Christian College. I knew that was a clear sign! After receiving the answer to my prayers, I asked my pastor, “What is it like to preach?” He then asked me the youth minister and let me preach once a month.

While attending a community college, I frequently made trips to New Hope, KY and stay with my great aunt. The people there had a huge impact on my conversion! After going there a few times, they asked me, “Are you ready to become Catholic yet?” And I would respond with, “No, I believe everything you have taught me, but I want to get married and become a preacher. And I definitely do NOT want to become a priest!”

I then asked my pastor where I should go to study for the ministry and he suggested Liberty University (LU). I applied, was accepted and received a substantial scholarship from Dr. Jerry Falwell himself. Well, the summer before I attended LU, I went to the Ignite Your Torch Catholic Youth Conference. During this conference there was Eucharistic Adoration every night. And during the last Holy Hour at the conference I realized that Jesus was really present in the Eucharist. This changed my life!

Well, I was only at Liberty for a few months before I realized that the Holy Eucharist was missing in my life. It was then that I knew I couldn't preach something I didn’t fully believe, so I became Catholic during my first year at LU. It was during this time that I lost many of my closest friends, but I knew I was following God’s will. In fact, during my first class of RCIA, they went around the room and asked each person why they wanted to become Catholic. And when it was my turn to answer the question, I said, “I am supposed to be a priest.”

As time went on at Liberty, my vocation to the priesthood seemed to be confirmed more and more. I went on a retreat for Catholic Campus Ministry leaders and a Campus Minister from Radford asked, “Have you ever thought about becoming a priest?” This was NOT what I wanted to hear. In fact, just before I went on this retreat I prayed, “God I will go where you want me to go, I will do what you want me to do; I will become what you want me to become! Just make it my will and make it clear to me.” Well, after what this campus minister told me, I knew my prayers were answered.

After being on this retreat, I started the group called “Catholics at Liberty.” There I started to meet other Catholics at Liberty and I spent most of my time working with this group. It really did help me discern my vocation for the Catholic Priesthood.

It wasn’t until I entered RCIA, that I knew I had a vocation to the priesthood. But now, looking back all throughout my life, I can see the signs there. I can see how God has placed this vocation in my life, even before I was born!

To fulfill this vocation, I now plan on entering the seminary for the Arch-diocese of Cincinnati! But as you can imagine, after graduating from Liberty University, I have some debt that needs to be paid first. Luckily, the Laboure Society is an organization that helps men and women in this same situation. They have so graciously agreed to help out with this debt. But they can’t do this alone; they need our prayers and support! The Laboure Society is doing their best to help support vocations. Your donation to the Laboure Society will not only be supporting many different vocations, but it is also tax deductible!

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