Grateful for the Call

In just about a week, the new Old Collegians will arrive, as will the new Postulants to Moreau Seminary. Soon there will be a new edition of Ave Crux with information about these men. Their stories are unique to each of them, and yet there is a common theme – each have discerned a willing surrender to God, even if just for this “next step” in discernment.

As we welcome these men, I can’t help but think about my own arrival to the seminary 22 years ago. I had been graduated from college for four years, and had been working as a computer consultant for several clients. Believe it or not, I really enjoyed that work! I found it to be fulfilling, and I had a good circle of friends. When I was trying to figure out if I should enter formation for Holy Cross, there were plenty of reasons to stay, and only one reason to go. There was a “tug” at my heart that just wouldn’t go away, no matter what successes I had in my job, or experiences in dating. And I knew that tug wouldn’t go away unless I made a commitment to answering the question “what if?” Of course, I fully expected the answer to be that God wasn’t calling me to this life, but I knew that, either way, I would be closer to knowing His will in my life. Thankfully, God did call me to this life, through the Holy Spirit and the example of many good religious brothers and priests. I’m grateful for God and how He has worked in my priesthood, from parochial vicar to pastor, and then as Director of Vocations, and now working as an assistant provincial for the United States Province of Priests and Brothers.

This month I will officially step down as Director of Vocations, and the office will be getting a new Director in Fr. John DeRiso, C.S.C. I’ve known Fr. John since we were in seminary together. He has accomplished a great deal as a pastor in South Bend and at our shrine in Le Mans, France, the birthplace of the Congregation of Holy Cross. In his various assignments, he has definitely put his trust in Divine Providence, very much after the example of our holy founder, Blessed Basil Moreau. Fr. John will be joining the associate directors, Fr. Tim Mouton, C.S.C. and Fr. Dennis Strach, C.S.C. (who just recently arrived in the office). They will continue doing a great job helping men discern God’s will, and providing the steps and the programs needed to do this holy work.

Finally, this month five of our members will profess Final Vows in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. One of them, Br. Joseph DeAgostino, C.S.C., will then begin his ministerial life as a finally professed religious. The other four (Vincent Nguyen, Joe Pedersen, Zach Rathke, and Gil Stoy) will be ordained transitional deacons the day after final profession, in preparation for their presbyteral ordination in the spring. Please pray for them, and all of our 60+ men in formation.

If you are feeling a “tug” to look more deeply into discerning God’s will, please let our office know, so we can help. It may be that He is calling you to be a religious brother or priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross. Regardless, as long as you are further down the road of discernment, we will have done our job well. Don’t forget to “waste time” with the Lord in daily prayer, and avail yourself of the Eucharist and Confession. Without those basic tools, discernment won’t go very far. May God bless you and your family in these summer days!

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