As I am working on several final seminary recommendation letters today, my mind wanders to the reactions that men get from others as the news gets out: ‘He’s going to the seminary!’
For the most part, I had favorable reactions; but the line I embellish in my own personal vocation story involves my mother. I slip in that, after I told her that I thought God might be calling me to the priesthood, well, ‘We had to pick her up off the floor…’
The editor of the New Orleans Clarion Herald, paper of record of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, had a similar experience, or maybe better said: moment of incredulity that a son of his was contemplating the priesthood. Upon his ordination to the priesthood, he wrote about the thoughts he was having as his son was completing that momentous journey . In his reflections, he hits on many of thoughts and feelings that families often have as a son/brother/uncle heads off to the seminary.
Most striking, at least for me, is the question: ‘I wonder what we did right?’ It’s something, I think, my parents have sometimes asked themselves. Perhaps the best answer: we stayed out of the way.
Please pray for the 11 men we have entering formation this Fall, that their families might be as supportive as this father was to the vocation of his son.