Today’s Vocation Story comes from Jim Riehly, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Jim is currently on his internship year at St. Cecilia parish in Oakley. He is a son of St. Gertrude and St. Columban parishes in Cincinnati.
The thought of being a priest first came to me when I was in the first grade. Of course, at times – as a six year old – I also thought about being a Martian, so needless to say I did not take the call to the priesthood, at that time, very seriously. As I grew up, and all the childhood fantasies of what I wanted to do with my life fell away, the idea of being a priest got set aside. Instead, I was going to be a teacher. All throughout my years of high school, I knew I was going to be a teacher. I went to Bowling Green State University because of their elementary education program. Yet throughout those years in high school and college, every now and then, that idea of priesthood would come into my mind again.
Then I got my first job as a teacher in a Catholic school. It was everything I had hoped it would be. I was so happy teaching that I stayed at one school for ten years. I thought, “All right, I’ve got my dream job, now soon marriage will follow, children, etc, – just like I planned.”
Well, sometimes God is sneaky. I say this because it was through teaching that the call to the priesthood was magnified. Every time I taught my students about the importance and the need for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, I would hear this little voice in the back of my mind saying, “Well, what are you doing?” Over and over again, lines I heard from Scripture or songs at Mass would trigger the thought of being a priest. That pull towards a vocation to the priesthood was getting to be too much to ignore anymore. And so, just a few short years ago, I entered the seminary. And the remarkable thing is, that for as happy as I was as a teacher, there is a calm and a joy in my life now that is difficult to explain. I believe it is because I have finally stopped ignoring God’s will for me. I have responded to His call, and God is good.
Have you recognized the need for more religious and priestly vocations in our Church? What are you doing about it?
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