Every day, when we wake up, we are faced with many choices. Most of these choices are made automatically, because we have turned them into habits. But they are choices nonetheless. By choosing, we give life to ourselves. We determine what our character is. If we are neglectful of our choices, or indifferent to how they affect others, then we will become adrift in life. But if we ask ourselves the question, “What type of person do I want to become?”, then life becomes meaningful.
So, what type of person do you want to become? What type of person do I want to become? On June 6, 1999, I walked down the aisle of the Warner Theater in Erie, PA, for my high school graduation from Cathedral Prep. As I looked around at all the young men wearing white dinner jackets and black pants, ready to graduate, it dawned on me that I had to do something with my life. My life had to find some type of purpose. If I did not intentionally, everyday, set goals and make choices, I would go nowhere in life. The time for leaning on my parents’ monthly budget, or on the 8:20-2:58 Monday to Friday school schedule, was over. I had to do something. Others would expect me to do something, too.
Becoming can be a little bit scary. It involves risks. It frequently takes you into new places. It surprises you. It delights you! It is a funny thing, making choices. One choice has governed my life since my senior year of Cathedral Prep, and that has been the choice to do God’s will. What an exciting and unpredictable choice that has been! If God is all that He is advertized to be, then God is all-knowing, all-loving, interested in my life, and present at its every moment. Once I was convinced that God was indeed all that the Bible and the Church advertized Him to be, I tried to make a choice of profound faith. I tried to turn my life over to God, and let Him lead, as opposed to asking Him to bless whatever plans I had for myself. This led me to promise celibacy for the Kingdom of God at my Deacon Ordination on April 29, 2006, and priestly obedience on June 8, 2007.
These choices led me to take on assignments as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Erie, Associate Vocation Director, Catholic Chaplain at Penn State Behrend, as well as teacher and Campus Minister at Cathedral Preparatory School. Now, it has led me to become Pastor at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Emlenton, PA, while continuing as Associate Vocation Director. I have found that God, through the person of the Bishop, has always surprised me, comforted me, challenged me, and provided for me in the gift of the Priesthood. I pray that those whom I have been privledged to serve and teach have been blessed through me. But after all, it’s not about me. That has been the point all along. And so, I hope that people have truly met Jesus Christ through me – through this “gift and mystery” of priesthood I have been given. On my best days, I would like to think that has happened. God is faithful to His people, and I know that He will continue to reveal Himself through all His priests, and me too.
Please pray in these times of transition for the whole Church. Pray for our Past Pope, Benedict XVI, the Cardinals, and those responsible for running the Vatican in the “interregnum” period. Pray for the man who will assume the now vacant Chair of Peter. We are all, from the Pope on down to the kid making his or her First Holy Communion, on a journey of faithful choices. May we not stop until our minds and hearts are united with the Mind of God, and Jesus’ Sacred Heart. May God bless our faithful choices and allow them to bear fruit. May God heal the defects in our sinful choices, turning them towards the good of all, and His Greater Glory.