In support of the Year for Priests as declared by Pope Benedict XVI, OLTV has undertaken a project to record answers to a set of questions about personal calling, ministry and priesthood from various church leaders and pastors. The questions asked of each person are: To start, we would like to learn about your beginnings in becoming a priest. We know that God works in many different ways. Sometimes a word, a comment, something very small can have a profound life-changing effect on a person.
1. What first awakened in you the realization that God might be calling you to the priesthood?
2. What were your initial emotions and hopes as you began to think more deeply about your vocation?
Priests have a significant impact upon a man’s vocation and his response to this calling. Their influence and support make up an important part of a man’s discernment.
3. Did you have the support and encouragement of priests when you were thinking about entering the seminary? What did these priests say or do that most helped you?
There are many aspects of formation for priesthood. Through prayer, study, relationships, and pastoral experience one grows and develops in deepening his commitment to this vocation.
4. As you look back upon your years of formation, what moments stand out that confirmed and strengthened your understanding of your vocation to priesthood?
5. Did you have the support and encourage of family members, especially parents, and friends when you entered the seminary? What did they say or do that helped you the most? We long to give our lives and our hearts to something that really matters. We are in a search for God. At the same time, we want to share with others what is deepest within our being: our experience of God’s goodness; and the richness of bringing people to God and God to people through Word and Sacrament.
6. What are the experiences or moments in your priesthood that most deeply nurtures and sustains your relationship with God?
7. Describe a time when you knew that your experience of God had to be shared – you just could not keep it inside you or remain silent. Tell the story of this time, and what most helped you to share the story of your encounter with God.
Even though a vocation to priesthood is given to an individual, it is lived out in relation to the Church – priests give themselves to the Body of Christ and to the People of God.
8. Describe an experience when you felt a true sense of serving the Church, a time when you and others were truly living the Ecclesial life of the Church. What did people say or do that most helped to bring about this experience?
Priests live their lives in persona Christi. They live out the message of the Gospel, witness the Good News in their compassion and service to others and bring God’s presence and grace into the lives of others through the celebration of the sacraments.
9. Describe a time when you experienced a profound sense of serving in the Person of Christ – even in the midst of struggles or tragedies. What did people do or say that most helped you experience this reality?
Knowing that a joyful life is the most powerful witness, priests need to speak about the joy and meaning of their vocation with others.
10. What do you value most about your vocation to the priesthood? What has made your choice of a vocation “worth it” to you?
11. What would you say, from your own experience, is the most compelling reason that a young man should consider a vocation to the priesthood? Recorded interviews of about a dozen priests and bishops were made during October and are being edited into a complete show for OLTV. Watch this space and the OLTV website for further information when they will be available.