Michael Goring Photo by Emanuel Pires, archdiocese of Toronto

It was at an early age Goring found that God was with him

By 
  • April 22, 2012

TORONTO - Michael Goring’s father likely knew his son had a unique spiritual maturity when Michael asked something along the lines of: “Is this all there is to the faith — to pray the rosary, to go to Mass? Can we come to know God in a more personal way in our lives?”

That’s big talk for a preteen.

A self-proclaimed “valley boy” from Pembroke, Ont., the now 38-year-old Goring said it was his Catholic family — and especially a particular suggestion from his father — that fostered in him, from a young age, a love for the Church and priesthood.

In response to his young son’s questions, Goring’s father advised him to read the lives of the saints. So Goring read the stories of men and women whose lives were transformed by Christ and who transformed others’ lives through Him. He developed a fitting fascination with St. John Vianney.

“Someone who had trouble getting through school, couldn’t even learn the Latin to become a priest, and now he’s the patron saint of all priests throughout the world,” said Goring. “Quite an inspiration.”

Equally inspiring was an invitation from one of Goring’s high school religion teachers, who told Goring and his classmates that, when they were having difficulties in their lives or felt isolated, they could call on God and that He would be faithful.

“Why should I wait to invite God into my life when things are going badly?” Goring asked himself.

So that night, he knelt and said a simple prayer.

“I sensed at that moment that the Lord had come into my heart and He was telling me that He was with me,” said Goring.

It wasn’t until a few years later, in university, that that sense translated into a direct encounter with the possibility of priesthood. After an evening Mass that he had attended with his brother Mark — who has since become a priest — Goring met the late Fr. Robert Bedard, the founder of the Companions of the Cross. Bedard invited them to share dinner with him. While his brother left his studies to pursue priestly formation soon thereafter, Goring continued his engineering studies and eventually became a software engineer in Ottawa.

But thoughts of the priesthood didn’t entirely leave Goring. After several years of studies and work, Goring decided to take a silent, week-long Ignatian guided retreat.

“I look at it almost like a vacation with the Lord,” said Goring. “And about halfway through that retreat, I sensed that God was offering me a gift, and it was the gift to become a priest.”

That gift will come to fruition on May 12 when Goring will be ordained a priest for Pembroke.

“I always thought myself more drawn to married life (than the priesthood),” Goring admitted. “But I couldn’t resist such a generous offer from God.”

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