This past weekend was the annual discernment retreat for the Archdiocese of the Military Services, hosted by St. Patrick's Seminary. Young men from all over the country - some current seminarians, some currently on active duty - stayed with us from last Thursday afternoon through yesterday morning. I was in charge of the liturgy for these men which meant finding volunteers to preside at Morning and Evening Prayer, and lectors, acolytes, and sacristans for Mass. A special thanks to Mr. Richard Kidd, our music chairman; Jason Simas, the logistics chairman; Leonard Marrujo, the social activities chairman; Deacon Matt Oakland, the seminarian liason with the military chaplains; and all of the seminarians who volunteered their time to talk with these young men and make them feel welcome!
I was also on the seminarian panel where three other men and I told our vocation stories and answered questions about seminary life. Afterward, one man came up to me and said, "Your vocation story really hit home with me because right now I'm in the same boat you were in." What he meant by that was he is currently in a relationship with a girl and isn't sure where God is calling him. It is tough to be in that position, but if anyone is really serious about discerning God's call, then ultimately you do have to make that decision to break up. I know firsthand how hard it is. But I'm happy where I am now and my last girlfriend is currently engaged.
One of my classmates, who is studying for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, said that when he was talking to his vocations director way back when he said, "Well Father, I was thinking I should go back to school first, get my teaching degree, and maybe take some other classes..." The way he described the VD's response was, "Why are you being a chump? Why wait? Answer God's call right now." I'm fairly certain those were not Fr. Daly's exact words, but however he put it, it's a good point. Back when I was visiting different religious orders in my own vocational discernment, one vocation director warned me against becoming a "serial discerner." To be sure it takes time to figure out what God wants of us. But there comes a point where you need to ask yourself is you're really discerning or only stalling. If the priesthood has ever crossed your mind and it just won't go away, why wait? Fr. Chuck would be happy to speak with you :)
Speaking of Fr. Chuck, he's here at St. Patrick's today since the faculty will be talking about us. Keep us in your prayer! The last time he was here, I mentioned in passing that we would have to go out for tacos some time. So guess where we're going for dinner tonight? If anyone reading this blog should make it to St. Patrick's within the next five years, you must develop a taste for tacos. Trust me.
From Father Z comes this lovely video. Let us pray for our Holy Father Benedict XVI.