Daigle New Associate Vocations Director

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by Fr. Jerry Daigle

I have long been intrigued by moments found throughout the Gospels, when Jesus stops to look a person in the eye and extend an invitation: “Follow me.” On the lips of Christ, these words are rich with expectation and promise. Not everyone answers or accepts, but each person who does is drawn into a unique, intimate relationship with Christ.

His call is specific and truly personal because he knows us better than we can ever know ourselves, and has conceived the one path of life that will bring each of us to our greatest fulfillment, and will ultimately make us most like Christ himself. Many are invited to share his life of communion and creation through marriage and family. Others are invited to share his life of consecration and prayer through religious vows. Some of us hear Jesus Christ calling us to share his priesthood – a joyful and challenging life of virtue, self-surrender and service.

During my years at Notre Dame Seminary, I was often bewildered and amused by the diversity of men chosen to be formed into priests. They were young and old, craftsmen and businessmen, athletes, artists, bookworms, unseasoned and streetwise, introverts and extroverts. They hailed from nearly every continent of the world, and spoke a multitude of languages. With amazement, I watched their gradual transformation.

In September, shortly after our seminarians Fidel Mondragon and Duane Trombetta were admitted to Candidacy for Holy Orders, I was shown a photograph of one of them publicly wearing the attire of a priest for the first time. It was an outward sign of the profound transformation occurring within, and it made him look like the new, different man he is becoming.

It brought to mind my own seminary experience of the first morning that Third Theology students would step out of their dorm rooms wearing their black clothes and clerical collars. Truly, clothes do not make the man, but, on this special day, those clothes always seemed to visually change the character of these men. In a real way, we saw them clothed in Christ and beginning to share in his priesthood.

I am truly blessed that Bishop Duca has asked me to participate in the formation of men into priests for our diocese by working with Fr. Matthew Long as Associate Vocations Director. Witnessing some of our young men in the parish of St. Jude begin to hear and try to answer Christ’s call to priesthood has been exciting. Trying to assist in their discernment and guide their spiritual lives has been humbling. It has brought me a sense of great joy and hope for our diocese.

I encourage each of you to continue offering prayers and sacrifices to the Lord, asking that He call more men to the priesthood from and for our diocese. Pray they may be able to clearly hear Christ’s call, and that their parents, siblings, friends and parishes will help them boldly accept Jesus’ invitation to be conformed to himself in such a profound and beautiful way.

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