vocation

The Catholic Faith Video Series: Your Tough Questions Answered [Video #19]

Question: Why do some people dedicate their whole life to believe and teach about their religion?
Please watch video below for answer:
If you prefer to read, below is Fr. Paul’s Answer:

Short Answer – Why not?  😊

Let’s take a closer look at this question sent to us by one of our teens from the local high school and examine 3 points.

  1. Why would someone bother to dedicate their life to learn and teach religion?

When I first saw the question, it seemed to me that an underlying question was asking – is it really worth it to dedicate your life to religion? For example, let’s insert another profession or carer instead of  into the question and see if it makes sense.

For example: Why would some people dedicate their life to becoming an NHL player? A pro soccer player? A doctor? A nurse? A carpenter? Why would someone dedicate their life to being a wife or a husband for their family? There’s a prevalent idea in our society that religion is made up or a waste of time or all relative – and it’s simply not the case. There are hundreds of thousands of people from all different backgrounds and characters who dedicate their life to religion. Why? Simple answer – it’s important to them.

The reality is that, if something is important to you, and you feel called to do it, and it makes you feel happy and completed, why wouldn’t you do it?

Everyone is made differently, and since, religion and God are the most important thing in life, it makes sense that for a portion of the Catholic population, they feel called to pursue a calling in religion as a priest, sister or brother.

2. Non importance or boring is relative

Non important or boring is kind of relative. For example, I’m passionate about hockey – a lot of my friends aren’t. Now, my friends that aren’t passionate about hockey still can appreciate a good hockey game even if its not their driving passion. They come with me to hockey games – it’s just not a career path they ever considered.

You can likewise be a good and faithful Christian and go to Mass and the sacraments even if you don’t want to be a priest or a nun. I feel its important to highlight this because many teens are naturally very idealistic and have an ‘all or nothing’ approach. You can be a devout Catholic without being a priest or a religious sister. It’s whether God calls you to serve Him and His people in a specific way or not.

3. Finally – how does it happen? Aka “The Call”

I can only speak for myself – but for myself and in fact, for many priests and sisters who I know, the journey of how they decided to be a priest or a sister wasn’t actually that mysterious and in a lot of ways, very ordinary.

I would compare it in a sense to having a crush on someone. It might start with a quick glance, then you want to get to know them more, hang out more. Over a while it might get more serious, and in many years end up in marriage.

It’s similar with a vocation (the word we use to describe a “profession” in the Catholic faith and means a calling in Latin) to be a priest or a sister – starts off small and grows over time.

In my case – I grew up playing a lot of hockey, ended up studying Mechanical Engineering, and slowly along the years going to university felt a slow and steady idea to check out becoming a priest. I did – and here I am.

Realize that there’s no ‘ideal candidate’ or ‘special type of person’ – God calls whoever He wants. And if you feel that God is asking you to serve Him as a priest or sister, don’t get all caught up in stereotypes about what a priest or a sister is supposed to be like or what they have to do – let God do the guiding – and as for you – just listen and follow.

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good-shepherd

Do You Have An Investment?

good-shepherd

4th Sunday Of Easter

Fr. Paul Patrick, O.M.I.

Posted: April 24, 2021

  • Intro:

Today we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter and simultaneously, the 58th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Today we highlight in a specific way the importance of young people discerning and then realizing their vocation within the Church, be it a call to be married, to the priesthood or religious life, or to single life.

  • Gospel

In the Gospel today, Jesus gives the powerful analogy of a shepherd who is ready to give up His life for the sheep under His care. He contrasts this model of “Good Shepherd” who is completely invested with the welfare of the sheep to that of a hired hand, who will run when danger approaches. Jesus states “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away” John 10:11-13

The difference lies in one word – investment. The Good Shepherd is deeply invested in the sheep and therefore he cares. The employee or hired hand, also cares for the sheep, but only in as much as he or she is paid. If there is danger involved, they flee because for an employee with little to nothing invested, it’s not worth risking their life over.

  • Practices of many successful businesses

It is no coincidence that many successful businesses have adopted the model of giving their employees a stake in their company and treating them like partners rather than hirelings in order to increase productivity. When an employee feels a connection to their place of work and feels their contributions have value and if they are invested in their company, then they are more likely to contribute in terms of productivity.

  • What do young people want from the Church?

In March of 2018, a delegation of 300 young people with representation from the entire Catholic world met with Pope Francis to discuss the present realities facing young people in the Church. In preparation for this meeting, over 15,000 young people participated through social media to send their comments and reactions on their life of faith in the Catholic Church and how they lived out their vocation. This culminated in a 16 page document preparing for the Synod of Bishops in October 2018 under the topic “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.

There were many memorable quotes in this document, but this one in particular stands out: “Young people who are disconnected from or who leave the Church do so after experiencing indifference, judgment and rejection”. Young people seek a sense of belonging. They seek investment in their local parishes and Church structures, seeking to be an integral part of it’s mission and existence. Additionally, the report goes on to state “the Church must involve young people in its decision-making processes and offer them more leadership roles” which “must be on a parish, diocesan, national and international level”.

  • Sense of belonging and investment

Dear brothers and sisters, a healthy sense of belonging and investment in any endeavour – either secular or religious – naturally tends to create commitment and dedication to the cause. If we want our young people to involve the Church in their vocations – the most important steps of their life – then we must all strive to promote a sense of belonging, welcome and investment in our parishes. In this way, we will create a climate in which youth feel confident in following in the footsteps of Jesus the Good Shepherd who gives up His life in the service of His people.

 

 

 

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here-i-am-lord

Here I am Lord – Fr. Mark

here-i-am-lord

5th Sunday In Ordinary Time –  Year C

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: February 10, 2019

Many years ago before I became a priest when I was at university, a friend who was not Catholic invited me to attend a Christian student mission conference in United States.  So, I joined him at this conference that had about 15000 university students from all across North America.

In that group there was only a few Catholics.  But, the local Catholic chaplain did offer a workshop for Catholic students who were at the conference.  The one thing that I remember was that the chaplain gave us a small bookmark with the prayer from the Prophet Isaiah that we heard in our first reading today.  “Here I am, Lord, send me.”

That may have been the first time that I started to think of my life as a vocation in a conscious way, that I was called to serve in some way.  When I first felt inside that God might want to work through me in some way.  Though I had not thought about the priesthood yet, it was probably one of the steps on the way.

The greatest challenge of the Church today, the greatest challenge for every Catholic parish, is to create a sense of vocation in as many Catholics as possible.  That all the baptized will embrace that spirit of the prophet Isaiah, “Here I am, Lord, send me.”  That all of us will realize that God wants to work through us.

God wants to work through you in some way.  For some it may be in a vocation such as the priesthood or religious life.  Some in the Sacrament of Marriage.  But, all of us no matter what our state in life are connected to God who is at work in the world.  So, we are also connected to the work of God.  God actually trusts us and chooses to bring love, peace, mercy, care into the world through us.

When Isaiah was called and when Simon Peter was called by Jesus in the Gospel today, for both of them the first reaction was fear and a sense of not being worthy.  There are two things that can prevent us from being instruments of God in the world.  First, is fear.  Fear often prevents us from doing good, from doing the work of God.

Second, is the sense of being unworthy.  We do not feel that God would be interested in us.  Well, God says to each of us, be not afraid.  God trusts us and wants to work through us.  Ask yourself: how may God be calling you, how may God want to work through you, right in your family, or where you work or study, or in our community?

Like the Prophet Isaiah, each of us needs to make our daily prayer, “Here I am, Lord, send me.”  To live in this spirit of openness to serve and be an instrument of God.  It is amazing what God is able to do through any one of us, when we open our heart to be an instrument of God.  Go home today with that prayer in your heart,  “Here I am, Lord, send me.”

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