Recently in prayer, I found myself going back to my vocation story and noticed several ways the Holy Spirit influenced my discernment. I would like to focus on one specific instance, however, that made the biggest impact in my discernment process.
One July night in 2014, my pastor, Father Joseph Wallace, asked me if I ever thought about becoming a priest. At this time, I kept my own discernment private and did not talk to anyone about the possibility of my desire to serve the Lord as his priest. Obviously, this question sparked a lot of emotions, and my heart started beating faster out of fear in case someone overheard. After he asked me, all I was thinking about was “how does he know?” “Who told him?” “What do I say?” “Should I say ‘yes’ or ‘no’?” After having these thoughts going through my mind, I answered him with a profound “sometimes.” After this, Fr. Wallace invited me to meet the vocation director, Fr. Romano.
Ever since that question, my discernment went to a whole new level. I was able to discern with two great priests who helped me follow the Lord and grow in deeper love with him. If the Spirit didn’t move Fr. Wallace at that moment, I don’t know what would have happened, or what I would be doing today. If you are a young man reading this, I encourage you to be open to the Spirit. If someone says they think you would be a good priest, give it a try and pray about it. Talk to your pastor about the joys of the priesthood and reach out to the vocation director. If you are someone who sees the qualities of good priest in a young man, just mention it to him. Sometimes young people need to that extra push to move forward in following the Lord. May the Lord continue to bless our diocese with an increase in vocations to the priesthood and bless all those who promote and encourage vocations.