Thursday, May 31, 2012

"I Believe I Am So Called"

One of the first questions which an ordaining bishop asks a candidate for the priesthood is: " you believe that you are truly called by God and his Church to this priesthood?" The candidate responds: "I believe I am so called."At the ordination ceremony representatives of the Diocese and of the candidate's parish confirm the call to priesthood from the community of the candidate whom they present. Thus, the one ordained enters into the mission and ministry of the whole people of God, the Church, with the unique responsibility of presbyter.

48 years ago today, though in the Roman Catholic Church and according to its rite, I and my classmates accepted our call as priests of the Church. It was a day like no other and its memory lives on in our hearts and lives, wherever our journey has taken us these many years later.

My stepfather, Tom DeHaven, for whose funeral Mass I was celebrant only two short years after this day, and my Mom, Grace, who died in 2003, were full of pride and incredible joy on the day of my ordination. Thanks be to God that we were all together for this milestone. And thanks be to God for every day since then, whether it brought continued joy or new sorrow. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

I've always loved this poem written by J. B. Lacordaire:

To live in the midst of the world
with no desire for its pleasure,
To be a member of every family
yet belonging to none,
To share all sufferings; to penetrate all secrets;
to heal all wounds, 
To go daily from men to God
to offer Him their petitions,
To return from God to men
to offer them His hope,
To have a heart of fire for charity
and a heart of bronze for chastity,
To bless and be blessed forever...
My God, what a life!
And it is yours,
O Priest of Jesus Christ!
(Père J. B. Lacordaire)

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