Many men who have grown up in the Church have, at one point or another, considered the priesthood. Even if it was a fleeting moment while serving as an Altar boy or on a Youth retreat, men in the Church consider the priesthood. As these men witness the lives of their parish priests, oftentimes they think, “I wonder what made him want to be a priest…Could I do that?” Unfortunately, for many men, the discernment process ends with that one thought. It is either quickly disregarded or not encouraged enough to develop or bear fruit.
Growing up we all have heroes; we look to role models. Firefighters run into burning buildings, risking their own lives to save others. Baseball players and athletes shock their spectators with fascinating plays and record breaking stats. Priests, too, can be heroic. They constantly give of themselves to help others in need. Their homilies can inspire and speak to a person at just the right moment. Yes, Priests can be heroes. Young men can look up to their priest as a role model.
As with any way of life, when we see a good or positive role model, we are drawn to be like that person. Part of desiring to be like that person naturally brings about the question, HOW are they like that? When we are blessed to have good, holy men in our parishes, it can lead to developing good and holy men discerning God’s will in their lives. Growing up, I saw the hardworking priests in my parish that made me feel welcome and that I mattered. I saw how happy they were as priests-administering the sacraments, leading ministry groups, running pilgrimages, and much more. They were kind, thoughtful, faithful, and dedicated to the people of the parish. Their words spoke to my heart and I often thought that I could be happy living a life like that.
It is very common for that thought to enter the head of men with similar experiences. It is that very thought that begins discernment in a man’s life. The thought must be developed and nurtured. It must become a question—“Is Jesus calling me to be one of His priests?”
The question is nurtured through prayer and discernment. For some this question leads them to study and enter into formation in a Seminary. For others this question is considered while working or studying full time. Eventually, when he asks the question sincerely and is completely open to receiving the answer, the Lord responds. For some the answer is YES, for others the answer is NO. For me, the answer was no, but I can now live out my vocation to married life with confidence that I laid it all on the table—I have no regrets—and I am a better husband and father because I allowed that thought to become a question and the answer brought about fulfillment in my life.
For 12 men, this weekend in the Archdiocese of Newark, the answer is YES. These 12 men, who at one point in their lives had that initial thought and allowed that to develop into a question and nurtured that question through seminary formation and study will offer their lives to Christ and His Church as they receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders and are ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ. We give thanks to Almighty God for these men and for all they will do for the Church. It is our prayer that these men will live out this call with joy.
May God who has begun the good work—first as a thought, then as a question, and finally with an answer—in
Fr. Cesar Infante
Fr. Jose Ortiz
Fr. Hermes Diaz
Fr. Antonio Sarento, Jr.
Fr. Johan Betancourt
Fr. Paul Importico
Fr. Thomas Quinn
Fr. Oliver Nilo
Fr. Fernando Diaz
Fr. Jason Makarow
Fr. Brian Gonzalez
Fr. Kevin Kilgore
Bring it to fulfillment.
Have you thought about it? Have you asked the question, “Is Jesus calling me to be one of His priests?” Perhaps it’s time.