Priesthood requires courage

By  Daniele Muscolino, YSN
  • November 24, 2006
I cannot count how many times someone has said, "Hey, I heard you are going to be a priest." It happens when I'm sitting at church, walking through malls, in line at the school cafeteria, even at work. And while I have been repeatedly cornered with this accusation, it still doesn't bother me. The truth is I have often thought about becoming a priest; in fact, I still think about it.

I have always highly respected and appreciated the priesthood and the role that a priest plays in today's world. It goes back to my days in Catholic school when I would always get a sense of excitement when the priest walked into my classroom. He was like a celebrity of some sort — a celebrity of God.

Upon further investigation it became clear a priest was more than just a "celebrity." He is the leader of the parish community, an ambassador of Christ, a servant, a teacher, a healer, a counsellor and a role model. He is a member of everyone's family and a sign of hope, peace and love. It is no wonder the priesthood would be attractive to me.

The fact remains that these are pretty big shoes to fill. The question always sits in my mind — could I be the one to fill these shoes effectively?

The discernment period is an interesting process. I always have this burning question on my mind, but I still have to tend to everyday tasks like school, work, family, friends, volunteering and school clubs. Before I know it, weeks, months and years go by, but the question still burns brightly. It is not that these things distract me from making a decision because they will build up my future. 

When people hear I am considering the priesthood, they have mixed reactions. Some friends are supportive while others have questions and doubts. I believe the problem is that many people look at the priesthood today as a "sacrifice" — giving up the chance to raise a family and to have a successful, lucrative career.

On the flip side, I see the priesthood as a blessing. It's an opportunity to be a presence of God, a source of healing and forgiveness, a witness of Christ and the Gospel that is so desperately needed in our hearts.

I have always desired to help people understand their faith. By working with people of all ages, I know my future includes involvement with the church in some capacity.

The church needs young men to step up to the plate and at least consider a vocation. The priesthood may not be a "career" as we know the term today, but it's a mystery that one must decide for himself, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, if it is a viable option.

It is not easy to jump into the process of becoming a priest. Accepting the call to the priesthood requires courage. Fortunately, I have been blessed to be surrounded by many faithful and compassionate priests who have been true role models for me. Am I worthy to follow in their footsteps? 

Only in God's time will I have an answer to His call. Until then I will continue to use the "call waiting" button.

(Muscolino, 21, studies communications at Laurentian University in Sudbury.)

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