“For when you see the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar, and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood, can you then think that you are still among men, and standing upon the earth? Are you not, on the contrary, straightway translated to Heaven, and casting out every carnal thought from the soul, do you not with disembodied spirit and pure reason contemplate the things which are in Heaven?”
– St. John Chrysostom
Throughout life’s journey there are individuals who we encounter that help to shape and form us in our Catholic faith, and inspire us in our vocations. I have been blessed to have good and holy Catholic priests in my life who have inspired me to not only to listen to God’s call closely in the silence of my own heart, but to respond to that call in discerning the religious life. It is because of the devout love that these extraordinary men have for their own vocation to the priesthood, and their beautiful passion for our Catholic faith that has given me strength, courage, and perseverance to continue on my own discernment journey. I am forever grateful that God has brought these priests who serve in various dioceses, into my life; that the Holy Spirit through these men has gifted me with the desire to fulfill the will of God by wanting to live my life for God alone, and to strive every day to be a witness of Christ in the world to those who do not yet know Him.
Fr. Angelo Pezzullo (Diocese of Brooklyn) after Mass one Sunday when I was six years old explained to me Jesus in the Eucharist, and his “dwelling place,” and about the sacred vessels that priests use for the Consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ, and I always remembered that day.
Msgr. Robert Thelen (Diocese of Brooklyn) inspired me as a child Sunday after Sunday to appreciate my faith and my family with his homilies that always included a story about his own family.
Fr. Michael Cichon (Archdiocese of New York) was a caring spiritual father who taught me as a teenager the importance of having respect and learning the truth about our Catholic faith.
Bishop Edmund Whalen (Archdiocese of New York) was another caring spiritual father who taught me as a teenager and as an adult the truth about our Catholic faith and the importance of living out our faith for others to witness in the world.
Fr. Evangelio Suagbaguio (Archdiocese of New York) has offered me encouragement since my teen years in my endeavors and has shown me the meaning of dedication to one’s vocation.
Fr. Daniel Tuite (Archdiocese of New York) sparked a fire within my soul to become enlivened and zealous to share our Catholic faith.
Fr. Robert Dillon (Archdiocese of New York) is an amazing Pastor of my parish, who is a true shepherd to his flock, and has inspired and encouraged me by his example to stay strong during difficult times, to have patience, to have hope, and to understand the power of prayer.
Fr. Neil Kelly (Archdiocese of New York)has helped me to keep going with his sense of humor during some challenging times, taught me so much about our faith through his Adult Religious Education classes and by answering any questions I have had concerning our faith, and helped to lead me by the power of the Holy Spirit to follow God’s Will in my life.
Fr. John Edison (Archdiocese of New York) has been supportive of my faith journey and has inspired me with his beautiful witness of how he celebrates the Mass with such passion and beauty.
Fr. Christopher O’Connor (Diocese of Brooklyn) was a listening ear when I needed it most, and his prayers helped me during difficult times.
Bishop Peter Byrne (Archdiocese of New York)has been encouraging and supportive throughout my faith journey.
Fr. David Rider (Archdiocese of New York)taught me by his wisdom, which was always inspired by the Holy Spirit, to continue to stand strong in my faith and to always choose Christ over everything else in this world, and to not be afraid to speak the truth, and to be courageous.
Fr. Thomas Devery (Archdiocese of New York)was there for me during times of difficulty during my discernment and offered advice that helped to guide me, showed me the meaning of courage, and allowed for me to take an active role with the parish faith-sharing group in promoting vocations to the priesthood, and helping to serve the people of the parish.
Fr. Christopher Argano (Archdiocese ofNew York), as our Archdiocesan Vocation Director, with words of inspiration and wisdom helped to guide me during the my faith journey.
Fr. Louis Jerome (Archdiocese of New York) inspired me with his words, especially in the bulletin each week, and permitted me to volunteer at the parish on Sundays meeting the people at Coffee Hour after Mass, which brought me great joy getting to know the parish families.
Fr. Marius Fernando (Archdiocese of New York) who always has greeted me with a smile after Mass and has inspired me to want to live my life with joy.
Fr. Stefan Chanas (Archdiocese of New York)taught me to be self-giving, to have humility, and to have strength during trials in our lives.
Fr. Phillip-Michael Tangorra (Diocese of Paterson) has inspired me with his friendship, and with his book, “Holiness and the Sacramental Life,” our faith-filled discussions, to want to delve deeper into our Catholic faith and to share that faith with others, and for teaching my Liturgy and the Sacraments class.
Fr. Goyo Hidalgo (Archdiocese of Los Angeles) inspired me by sharing his beautiful vocation story, and his everyday experiences as a priest in the Catholic Church.
Fr. Thomas Byrnes (Archdiocese of New York) who was truly a spiritual father to me with such gentleness and kindness in supporting my discernment journey.
Fr. Jeffrey Maurer (Archdiocese of New York) was an inspiration to me in the show of his incredible effort and determination to serve his parishioners and be there for them, especially the children awaiting to receive Holy Communion and Confirmation, during the Coronavirus pandemic, and for allowing me to be a part of his efforts to be there for his parishioners at such a difficult time.
Fr. Matthew MacDonald (Archdiocese of New York) taught me to have an even deeper appreciation of the Liturgy, and the beauty that our Church has to offer in celebrating the Sacraments. Fr. Ambrose Debroszi (Archdiocese of Cincinatti) who is a prayer partner who I know is continuously praying for me and who has been extremely supportive in my faith journey.
Fr. Eric Rappaglia (Archdiocese of New York) is an inspiration to me in how he teaches the truth without watering down our Catholic faith, and encourages me in being a part of the parish bible study and women's group.
I have been abundantly blessed by the Lord to have wonderful priests in my life who by their faithfulness to the Church and their service to God led me to have a deeper faith and love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I will continue to pray for these good and holy priests, that through the Holy Spirit they may inspire young men to listen and answer the call to the Priesthood. Without the Priesthood there is no Eucharist, and without the Eucharist there is no Catholic Church. It is imperative, especially now during this difficult time in our Church, that we pray for our priests and for more vocations to the priesthood.