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The Priesthood Ordination Class of 2005 “People would be surprised to know that I…”
USCCB ^ | May 2, 2005 | USCCB Staff

Posted on 05/02/2005 12:03:30 PM PDT by siunevada

…… began to consider priesthood and religious life from the standpoint of a successful business career which provided everything I was supposed to have and which I found unfulfilling.

…… have wanted to be a priest since I was five years old (I am now forty-seven!).

…… have thought about the priesthood since my Confirmation retreat at 13. . . . have studied and traveled through Europe for a year. . . . have a sister who will graduate law school the day before I get ordained a priest (my only sibling).

…… that I wanted to be a priest since I was in first grade: nothing else ever came close to it.

…… always thought I'd get married.

…… am a meteorologist.

…… am a musician.

…… am a product of the RCIA process.

…… am a seaplane pilot who built his own seaplane (not an ultralight).

…… am an advanced-expert snow skier living in Florida.

…… am an introvert.

…… am becoming a priest at the age of seventy. After my wife, Mary, and I raised three children and she is now deceased, the Archdiocese of Detroit accepted me as a candidate for the priesthood. I have four grandchildren and am very blessed by God and the Archdiocese of Detroit to be able to serve in the priesthood.

…… am not pursuing my vocation to the priesthood because I feel that it is what I have to do; rather, I am pursuing my vocation to the priesthood but because I have come to a point in my relationship to Jesus Christ where I desire nothing more than to serve.

…… am not that academically talented.

…… am one of two men from my high school graduating class of 14 to be ordained to the priesthood in 2005.

…… attended the United States Naval Academy.

…… avoided this calling to the priesthood for several years. But God never backed down.

…… became a registered sleep tech (RPSGT) during the summers off from seminary, without any previous clinical experience. (I was able to read about 5000 pages that first summer while being paid to watch people sleep!)

…… came back to the seminary to continue with the priesthood after ten successful years of business.

…… did not really think about priesthood until college.

…… directed, initiated Special Educations programs for Deaf/Blind and other Multi-Handicapped programs.

…… enjoy bringing ministry out on to the athletic fields, I serve as a chaplain for a Div I Baseball team, and it is in this ministry that I feel so much enjoyment and see the work of God so visible.

…… enjoy downhill skiing.

…… found my vocation in the company of a happy priest.

…… had a personal Mass with Pope John Paul II.

…… had an initial desire to become a medical doctor, but it was obvious that the Lord had other plans for me in my life. Many in fact thought that I would become a doctor, but some of my friends that knew me in High School whom I have lost contact with might pleasantly surprised in my vocation to the priesthood.

…… had hoped to teach in American schools in Europe.

…… had several international work assignments as a computer programmer including Montreal, Canada and Caracas, Venezuela. I once caught a shark while fishing off the coast of Florida.

…… had to go to the desert to discern God's will for my life.

…… had very little support or direction in my decision to enter the seminary.

…… have a twin brother and am the second youngest of fifteen children and the love and example of my parents and siblings inspired me to join the seminary.

…… have been surfing for 25 years.

…… have broken the same wrist twice and got a concussion, all while playing hockey (but not all at the same time).

…… have doubts about my faith.

…… have my pilot's license.

…… have never been happier in my life pursuing the priesthood. I believe that if people understood the joy that exists in a priestly or religious vocation, more young people would be willing to explore the possibilities.

…… have traveled to 47 countries.

…… have written nine books.

…… heard the call to the priesthood through the television and from a phone call. The first one was from the Holy Father and his trip to St. Louis in 1999 and the other was a phone call from my Archbishop in Oklahoma City when I was still in college.

…… am a jazz-pianist (a.k.a., a lounge-lizard).

…… am interested in astronomy and other sciences. I have no difficulty balancing science and religion.

…… had a terrible stuttering problem as a youth.

…… wanted to be a priest since I was about 6 years old...and it’s been a wild journey.

…… was a law student for two years.

…… was asked by my parish priest if I had every thought about being a priest. I remember laughing at the thought and said that will never happen. I forgot about the whole incident and it wasn't until three years later that I remembered what I had said.

…… was not influenced by advertising techniques. That is, the techniques used to sell toothpaste. For me the path involved spiritual growth and development which involved the regular reception of the sacraments of the Eucharist (daily) and penance (monthly).

…… in my first freshman start as a linebacker in college, I finished the game with 19 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 interception. I was a 4 year 1st team starter in College as a linebacker. Also, I played in an all-star football game in Australia after high school.

…… increased my love for the Church and priesthood most through dialogue with non-Roman Catholic people (ex. defending my faith).

…… know Sign Language and drew a weekly cartoon strip for a newspaper in Florida.

…… left a financially rewarding career to become a Roman Catholic priest.

…… love snow and cold weather after having been born and raised in San Antonio, TX, much to the consternation of my fellow Minnesotans. Ice and snow, Bless the Lord!

…… met and worked with Mother Teresa.

…… met Pope John Paul II and he without knowing me confirmed my vocation to my diocese.

…… never even thought of becoming a priest until I was 25.

…… once did volunteer search and rescue training using dogs.

…… owned and ran a business that provided relief pharmacy staffing. In many peoples eyes I was materially very successful. I could take weeks or a month off at a time to recreate by taking fishing, hunting, and ski trips to exotic places. I had a home on the beach in California, as well as one by the City Lakes in Minneapolis. I had a good portfolio of investments in the stock and real-estate market. However, my life was very empty because the focus of my happiness and success was on myself. I have given this up to follow Christ and have never been happier or more peace filled.

…… am a Turin Shroud enthusiast and somewhat of an expert.

…… still have some fears entering into priestly ministry. There is of course a confidence going into ordinations and a total trust in God that His grace will sustain me; but, at the same time, there is a trepidation in the transition I will experience in the near future.

…… play bluegrass guitar, banjo, and fiddle.

…… practiced law for eight years before entering the seminary to follow God's call to become a priest.

…… received the confirmation of my vocation in Europe during the World Youth Day in Paris. I have been working so actively at the Parish, and yet I was afraid of making the decision to enter the seminary. But, through prayer and meditation, I asked God to let me know what I should do, whether to go for medicine, which was my major as a pre-med student, or to go for His Priesthood. Thanks to His kindness and merciful love, he gave me that sign.

…… remodeled my own home from electronic to plumbing, myself.

…… served two years as a State Officer, the parliamentarian for Business Professionals of America Iowa Association. One year on the secondary level and one year on the post-secondary level.

…… sold vacuum cleaners.

…… spent 6 months with the Trappists.

…… trained for and ran a marathon each year I was in the seminary (until diaconate ordination).

…… turned down promotion to Major and a teaching position at the USAF Academy (Middle East History) and am a Middle East Studies graduate from Naval Postgraduate School. I am also co-sponsored for return to the USAF as a chaplain in 2008.

…… used to be a Mormon.

…… used to work for the National Hockey League.

…… wanted to be a military physician until a priest asked me if I had considered priesthood.

…… was a Civil War reenactor for several years.

…… was a Lutheran pastor for six years.

…… was a movie extra in the movie TAPS back in 1981 when I was 15 years old.

…… was a nationally certified athletic trainer.

…… was a promoter for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

…… was a sheet metal/construction worker before I had entered the seminary; I was never an altar boy; I have a black belt in martial arts (karate); I had a "conversion" experience when I was 26 years old while attending a Life in the Spirit Seminar.

…… was a tailor, and that supplied money for most of my expenses in my secular college years.

…… was a truck driver.

…… was a university professor before I entered the seminary.

…… was an aquatic instructor and swimming and water polo coach since I was 13 years old.

…… was in charge of the Government's Counterterrorism Training Program for analysts.

…… was on track to have a career in classical music.

…… was the drummer in an Irish-rock band before entering the community.

…… Worked as a dean in non-Catholic colleges and universities.

…… worked for nine years in a Federal prison.

…… worked for the "Happiest Place on Earth"...Disneyland.

…… worked full-time on a dairy farm in Denmark for 6-1/2 months.


Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1194 (202) 541-3033

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events
KEYWORDS: calltoholiness; columbiamagazine; holiness; holypriesthood; knightsofcolumbus; kofc; ordination; priest; priesthood; priests; seminarian; seminarians; thepriesthood; usccb; vocation; vocations
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1 posted on 05/02/2005 12:03:31 PM PDT by siunevada
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To: siunevada

Articles like this are a nice way to humanize and hopefully repopulate seminaries with healthy and vibrant and hetero men. Just hope the Church has a strict screening process in place now.

2 posted on 05/02/2005 12:09:37 PM PDT by Californiajones ("The apprehension of beauty is the cure for apathy" - Thomas Aquinas)
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To: siunevada

This is a wonderful list.

Our priest had the same inklings as a youngster, but chose to work in the airline industry for awhile.

He is in his late forties and has been a priest for six years. He is so knowledgeable, relatable, and reverent -- all at the same time. Plus he knows how to teach the difficult concepts for the everyday person.

Outstanding in my book!

3 posted on 05/02/2005 12:15:20 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; Pyro7480; sinkspur; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

This is a MUST READ!

4 posted on 05/02/2005 12:21:11 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: siunevada

With the role model of Pope Benedict XVI, my intuition tells me that there will be many more such individuals who will enter the priesthood. May God bless them abundantly.

5 posted on 05/02/2005 12:24:36 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Old_Mil

Here you are, sir. Please don't lose heart.

6 posted on 05/02/2005 12:30:53 PM PDT by St. Johann Tetzel (A kinder, gentler Polycarp)
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To: Salvation

Most awesome article.

Of our two priests...

One went in to the seminary after high-school. At some point he was in the military for a short time.

The other one was a Presbyterian growing up and was an accountant until his mid 30's.

7 posted on 05/02/2005 12:40:57 PM PDT by Jaded (Hell sometimes has flourescent lighting and a trumpet.)
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To: St. Johann Tetzel

=== …… am becoming a priest at the age of seventy.

Do they take nuns this elderly or is it the way men can keep their money that makes the difference?

8 posted on 05/02/2005 12:44:40 PM PDT by Askel5 († Theresa Marie Schindler, Martyr for the Gospel of Life, pray for us †)
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To: Askel5

Welcome back!

9 posted on 05/02/2005 12:47:39 PM PDT by St. Johann Tetzel (A kinder, gentler Polycarp)
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To: siunevada
Hmmmm....15 in to be 47 in 2005....hmmmmm.

I'm sorry, who is this person? Did they teach math at the Naval Acadamey?

10 posted on 05/02/2005 12:58:04 PM PDT by NEBUCHADNEZZAR1961
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To: St. Johann Tetzel

Just passing through ...

11 posted on 05/02/2005 1:02:21 PM PDT by Askel5 († Theresa Marie Schindler, Martyr for the Gospel of Life, pray for us †)
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To: siunevada

Maybe an Augustine / Ignatius among them.

12 posted on 05/02/2005 1:21:24 PM PDT by RobbyS (JMJ)
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To: Salvation
Thanks for the ping.

The K of C dedicated their entire April 2005 Issue of "Columbia" to the subject of vocations. We sure need them.
13 posted on 05/02/2005 1:30:58 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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Hmmmm....15 in to be 47 in 2005....hmmmmm.

I'm sorry, who is this person? Did they teach math at the Naval Acadamey?

Is that next door to the Academy? (Sticklers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your sense of proportion!)

I'm missing the significance of your references to age 15, age 47, the Naval Academy. These are many diffrent persons, not one person. One body, many members.

14 posted on 05/02/2005 1:40:13 PM PDT by siunevada
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These are quotes from the priests ordained in 2005, not one single priest.
15 posted on 05/02/2005 1:40:13 PM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: Salvation
My Parish has a priest who, at the age of 5, decided that he wanted to be the Pope.

Only problem was, he wasn't Catholic ...

I don't think he'll ever be Pope, but he's an excellent teacher and Parish Priest.

16 posted on 05/02/2005 1:49:20 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: siunevada; american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ...
How interesting!

And here is the evangelization technique used by a recently ordained priest, who set up a booth at an Art Fair. He went 'fishing', and succeeded.

“Lord, where is the fish?”
 And here it is. Not only one fish but two.

Would you like to be a Monk?

17 posted on 05/02/2005 2:59:56 PM PDT by NYer ("Love without truth is blind; Truth without love is empty." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: siunevada; american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ...
How interesting!

And here is the evangelization technique used by a recently ordained priest, who set up a booth at an Art Fair. He went 'fishing', and succeeded.

“Lord, where is the fish?”
 And here it is. Not only one fish but two.

Would you like to be a Monk?

18 posted on 05/02/2005 3:00:59 PM PDT by NYer ("Love without truth is blind; Truth without love is empty." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: siunevada

One of the priests at my church was a practicing lawyer in a law firm before he had his calling.

19 posted on 05/02/2005 3:03:37 PM PDT by warsaw44
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All in the Family

by Joseph Pronechen

Is a Knights of Columbus family more likely to produce a son who wants to be a priest? Seminarians and their fathers say all the ingredients are there.

In this article:
altA Good Environment
altFathers and Grandfathers Help
altDaily Mass and the Rosary
altMen of Action
altGrowing in Holiness Together
The McGivney priest-brothers: Michael flanked by Patrick (left) and John.
The McGivney priest-brothers: Michael flanked by Patrick (left) and John.
Can being a Knight of Columbus help encourage or foster a son’s vocation to the priesthood? Is a Knights of Columbus home more receptive and supportive after a son decides to go to the seminary?

Some Knights and their sons who are studying for ordination have some revealing answers to questions about home life and the calling to priesthood.

A Good Environment altBack to Top

“We talked to our pastor and he told us most parents aren’t supportive about it when their sons tell them they want to be a priest,” said Jeffrey Alello, a member of St. Jude the Apostle Council 9692 in Baton Rouge, La. “We told him we’re very supportive whatever Michael wants to do.”

The support didn’t surprise Michael Alello, also a member of Council 9692, who is studying at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans for the Diocese of Baton Rouge. He is the first seminarian from St. Jude the Apostle Parish, which opened in 1966.

“The Knights are not afraid to talk vocations, and that boils over in the household,” Michael said. “By being a Knight of Columbus, they’re willing to raise their children in a Catholic environment. Ultimately someone’s got to cultivate that vocation, and the best place to do that is in the home.”

Jason Kahle of Father Michael Muehe Council 5669 in Kalida, Ohio, found his parents, Michael and Lucy Kahle, very supportive when he entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West, located in Cincinnati.

“My father lived out the qualities of a good Knight, which created a good environment for me to be raised in, and which affected my decision to discern whether or not I’m being called to serve God as a priest,” explained Jason, who is studying for the Diocese of Toledo.

He said his father taught the importance of family, respect for others, being kind and generous — the same teachings of the Knights of Columbus.

Looking back, his father sees a connection.

“I think involvement with the Church and with the Knights of Columbus set an example,” he explained. “The Knights’ involvement with Church activities and support of the Church, and respect for priests, might have had something to do with it.

“I think any Knight would feel the same way I do about a son receiving a call to the priesthood. I thought it was an honor and a privilege to have our son called to the ministry.”

Fathers and Grandfathers Help altBack to Top

At first, Chet Weber didn’t think his being a Knight had any bearing on his son Zachary’s vocation. “But a letter he had written as a senior in high school gave some insight,” Chet reported. “He was talking about the example my wife Terri and I set with the Knights of Columbus and the Church. We think it was more of a calling itself.”

Growing up in a K of C family fanned the vocational flames for Zachary, who is studying for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He is a member of Archbishop Purcell Council 2798, where his father and grandfather both served as grand knight.

Did their Knightly example have a bearing on his vocation?

“Certainly it did,” Zachary said. “It was part of the whole experience growing up Catholic for me.” He remembers going to many K of C Christmas functions and helping his father raise money for people with intellectual disabilities.

Zachary pointed out that the general qualities of a Knights of Columbus family can make a tremendous difference. “Just the religious climate — going to Mass together on Sundays as a family, eating together as a family — that unity, that faith in God might seem small, but today when people are busy running around, it’s important to stay close to the family.”<?p>

“The Knights of Columbus considers itself the right hand of the Church, and our council is big on family things,” his father explained. “So kids growing up around the Knights see that whole demeanor, practicing faith. Just being around it is helpful.”

Daily Mass and the Rosary altBack to Top

There’s no doubt that a pro-vocations atmosphere in a K of C family inspired Tom Anderson, son of Charles and Kathleen Anderson, who is studying for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D., at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver. The Andersons are members of Pierre (S.D.) Council 2686.

“When I was growing up, my grandpa, Maurice Anderson, was a big influence on me as far as my faith is concerned,” Tom said. “He was a Fourth Degree Knight and would go to Mass every morning. I was curious and decided I was going to go to daily Mass also when I was in Catholic grade school.”

Tom’s father added, “My parents lived in our house and had their own apartment. His grandfather, my dad, was involved heavily with the Knights. That had a big effect on Tom. My dad would always go to daily Mass with Tom when he was in St. Joseph School.”

Adding to the picture, Tom said, “For my grandpa and for my father it was a consistency of faith shown in a quiet way. Grandpa would say rosaries all the time. He’d pray with Grandma before going to bed. We’d always go to church on Sundays. Faith was deep and it was a part of them.”

Men of Action altBack to Top

For a Knight to live his faith every day in every way is a powerful example to children, according to Steve Lemay, a member of Ste. Anne de Danville (Que.) Council 3322, and a student for the Sherbrooke Diocese at the Grande Seminaire de Montreal.

“My father, Bernard, never verbally promoted the vocation to the priesthood at home,” he said. “He is not a man of many words — he is a man of action! In this sense I can say that his involvement with the Knights was a witness to me.”

“He taught me the importance of getting involved to help the poor and suffering,” he continued. “My father, as a Knight of Columbus, taught me to put myself at the service of my brothers and sisters. In his leadership as a grand knight of his local council, he taught me to give myself completely to the causes that mean much to me. I chose the cause of the Gospel, and my father is there to help me morally and financially.”

Steve also observed his father’s respect for priests and other religious.

Looking back, he realizes “that my father’s engagement as a Knight of Columbus is an important influence on my road to the priesthood. It is easier to discern a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life if we grow in an environment that esteems them.”

Bernard Lemay believes his son received encouragement to pursue his vocation by being around active Knights. Bernard was involved in everything from constructing the council chamber and organizing the children’s Christmas social to collecting for the needy.<?p>

“My deep commitment to the Knights certainly moved him to be open to the needs of the community and to give of himself completely in the vocation to which he is called,” said Bernard.

“The diverse activities of the Knights of Columbus helped Steve to discover the important role of the priest in society.” As a grand knight, Bernard says he worked alongside the parish priests.

“I know to what degree the community needs priests,” said Bernard. “Even if it means sacrifice, this helps us to support Steve in his journey.”

Growing in Holiness Together altBack to Top

Seminarian Ryan Moravitz, son of Richard and Diana Moravitz, learned from his father’s example of prayer. They both belong to Ely (Minn.) Council 3238.

“I see my dad on a level of prayer that I hope to attain some day,” he said. “He’s a man of prayer, and part of that is being a Knight. Praying the rosary and eucharistic adoration have always been big things for him. Whenever someone asks me about my dad, I think about how faithful he is to that, and how he encourages me in my own prayer life and growing in holiness.”

His father’s example has paid double benefits. Ryan is studying at the North American College for the Diocese of Duluth, Minn., and his brother Brandon has begun studies at Immaculate Heart of Mary (minor) Seminary in Winona.

Their father believes being a Knight has a definite effect on a decision for a religious vocation. “It’s another resource — a spiritual resource through prayer,” he said. “At every meeting we pray for vocations, and every prayer helps.”

In fact, Richard himself is now in his first year of formation for the permanent diaconate.

Ryan says, God willing, he’s looking forward to the day when he will celebrate Mass with his brother concelebrating, and their father assisting as deacon.

Joseph Pronechen writes for the Catholic press from Trumbull, Conn.

Huge Dividends
by Steve Gust

Priests who received support from the Knights during their days in the seminary count their blessings then and now

An Answer to Prayers  Making a Difference  The Backbone  Everybody's Business

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap, presides at ordination Mass for four members of Dr. Earl C. Bach Council 3340 in Littleton, Colo.
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap, presides at ordination Mass for four members of Dr. Earl C. Bach Council 3340 in Littleton, Colo.
When the term “RSVP” is used at council meetings, most Knights know they are being asked to respond to a special invitation to support a young man on his way to the priesthood or a young woman seeking to become a religious sister. Knights may not know, though, about the substantial temporal and spiritual benefits seminarians and postulants receive from the Order’s Refund Support Vocations Program.

Last program year, a little more than $2.5 million was raised and contributed through the RSVP to nearly 4,400 men and women preparing to give their lives to serving God and the Church. The figure marks a considerable increase from the program’s inception in 1981-82, when $83,450 was spent by 103 councils, assemblies and circles. Through RSVP, KC units donate $500 to a seminarian or another qualified candidate pursuing a vocation and qualify for a $100 rebate from the Supreme Council.

Knights in the program also are encouraged to pray regularly for the young man or woman they support, and to pray for vocations in general.

Beyond the numbers are the stories, the personal accounts of those seeking to enter the priesthood. Some recently ordained priests know the significance the program has had on their lives.

Father Kirk Larkin offers one inspiring story. In the 1990s, at age 38, he sold his home and business and entered the seminary. It was a tough decision, but he was encouraged by the approval of his brother Knights in Edmond (Okla.) Council 6477.

“Every year, Council 6477 provided me with funds that helped with my basic needs,” Father Larkin said.

Each Christmas the Edmond Knights donated an airline ticket to Father Larkin so he could return home to visit with family. While home, he would brief the council on his studies and progress. “They would treat me like gold…like I was someone special,” Father Larkin recalled.

Every time the request for an RSVP donation to Larkin was discussed, it was easily approved by members, even though the council was sponsoring other brother Knights for the priesthood.

Father Larkin has “repaid” the Knights’ generosity at his new assignment, St. Mary’s Parish in Ponca City, Okla.

“I see the great advantage of working with the Knights’ Council 949 here,” he said. “Their presence is always felt and I know I can still count on them for whatever I might need.”

An Answer to Prayers altBack to Top

The fact that a group of people — many of them strangers — care enough to help can boost the spirits of a prospective priest. Father Robert Fox, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church in Evanston, Wyo., recalled one such incident.

In 1998, as a seminarian at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corner, Wis., he was wondering how he would pay for his trip home at Christmas. A surprise came in the mail a day before vacation began.

“I received a Christmas card and a check from the Knights of Columbus in Jackson, Wyo.,” he said. “Their generous donation of $500 allowed me to return to the diocese and even buy a few Christmas presents. This wasn’t the only time they sent me donations, but it was certainly the one I remember the most. I really felt it was a gift from God and an answer to my prayers!” The thoughts behind the RSVP donations may be as valuable as the money.

Grand Knight Mike Mullican of Needham (Mass.) Council 1611 said his council has been involved in RSVP for at least 10 years. The council is currently sponsoring three seminarians.

“It’s not so much the money, but we also let the seminarians know that we care about them,” he said. “This involves us in the process.” The seminarians are invited to council events.

Making a Difference altBack to Top

Seminarians and priests are welcomed and valued in the Knights. Father Mike Stalla is associate pastor at St. Mary’s Parish in Painesville, Ohio, and also serves at St. Francis Church, an inner-city parish in Cleveland. His home council, Father Ragan Council 3269 in Avon, supported him through the RSVP prior to his ordination in 2003.

“My first Mass was held at Holy Trinity Parish in Avon,” Father Stalla said. “Most of the Knights came and showed their support and their spiritual strength. They have known me since I was a child and remember many embarrassing stories. But still they believed I could be a holy and devoted priest. I have been inspired by those who have stood by me and kept pressing me to improve and believed I could serve God, even with my shortcomings.”

The effect of even one priest in the modern secular world can be great. Through a program called VIDA charities, Father Stalla helped bring clean water, health care, education and proper nutrition to impoverished children in El Salvador. The Knights of Avon supported that effort as well.

“After five years of operations, we now serve 10 schools and 1,900 students,” Father Stalla said. “I thank my brother Knights for believing we could make a difference.”

The Backbone altBack to Top

Newly ordained priests don’t soon forget the support they have received from their brother Knights. Father Tom Hopper of St. Laurence Church in Sugar Land, Texas, has fond memories of his association with his council.

“I have financially benefited greatly from the generosity of my brother Knights, not only from local councils, but from Trinity Council 4580 in Hales Corner, Wis., which is affiliated with my former seminary, Sacred Heart School of Theology,” he said. His memories from seminary include trying to hand out more candy than fellow students in the Knights’ fund-raiser for people with intellectual disabilities.

“I believe the Knights of Columbus are the true backbone to the success and support of vocations to the priesthood, and religious life,” Father Hopper said. “I’m honored to be a member of such a great organization.”

“This is what we’re all about,” said Texas State Deputy Leo Hanus. “It doesn’t matter if the seminarians are Knights or not. And it’s more than the money. We pray for them and send them letters,” he said.


Everybody's Business altBack to Top

Vocations are everyone’s business, said Father William Cocco, associate pastor of St. John the Beloved in Sherwood Park, Del.

“I need to convey my thanks to Knights for their support and their example of being good Christian men,” he said.

Cocco grew up in Philadelphia and became a police officer. At age 31, he entered the seminary. Looking back, he appreciates the help from brother Knights. That help, he said, is still needed.

“Just having a cell phone is about $500 a year,” he said. “Some of us going into the seminary later in life have some money saved, but the younger guys need the help.”

Vocations require a sacrifice, Father Cocco said. He urged all Knights to give moral support to those who might make a good priest or sister.

“I wasn’t ready at first, but God kept it in my head,” Father Cocco said.

Steve Gust is a member of Edmond (Okla.) Council 6477 and the Oklahoma State Council bulletin editor.

A Divine Call

by Supreme Chaplain Bishop Thomas V. Daily

Each of us is God’s agent for promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

With the World Day of Prayer for Vocations coming up on April 17, allow me to make a few comments about vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

In the past couple of years we have had some good news that the number of vocations to the priesthood has increased. Although in North America and Europe numbers have diminished, around the world the number has gone up. The Catholic Church continues to grow, and we realize there may never be enough priests to meet the demand. In the same way, there is a pressing need for vocations to consecrated life, namely religious sisters and brothers, and members of secular institutes.

In the Knights of Columbus as an organization, and in Knights of Columbus families, vocations have always been a primary challenge and concern. For years, the Order has accepted the challenge and dedicated itself to promoting vocations, as well as providing substantial funding for seminarians and postulants and the schools that train them.

All of us need to be involved in our own way in the promotion of vocations in accordance with our own vocations as bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laypersons — as fathers, mothers, family members, neighbors, fellow parishioners and surely as brother Knights. We need to create greater awareness not only of the need for priestly and religious vocations, but of the challenges and joys that await those who accept a life of service to God and his Church in these vocations.

We pray for vocations, but do we ever tell a young man in our parish or council that he would make a good priest? Do we tell a young woman, a daughter, granddaughter or niece that she would make a good sister? These young men and women may have thought these things themselves and need reassurance from an adult whom they respect and trust.

Any of you — each of you — can be God’s agent for a calling. Continue to pray and work for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

Praise be Jesus Christ, yesterday, today and forever!

20 posted on 05/02/2005 4:12:33 PM PDT by Coleus (God Bless our New Pope, Benedict XVI)
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