in Southwark Diocese
harvest is rich but the labourers are few.”
priests speak of knowing from infancy that God was calling them to the
priesthood, but for me it was more a case of slowly responding to what
had, in youth, been only a vague notion. I first had the idea of the
possibility of becoming a priest in my early teens, having been blessed
to grow up in a Catholic family with the example of good parish
priests. Later, however, I drifted in my feelings about priesthood -
and indeed my Catholic faith generally - and it was not until I reached
Oxford that I began to attend vocation discernment events organised by
our zealous university chaplain.
© Marcin Mazur
And yet still I was not sure. With hindsight I was looking for
certainty, perhaps some cast-iron proof that this was the path that God
was calling me to follow, before I was willing to take a risk. I wanted
a degree of confidence that I now realise can only come from taking the
plunge, embracing that which prayer suggests the Lord is asking of you.
I spent time teaching in England and South America, pursued graduate
studies, and considered other possible careers before I finally
accepted what I would discover had been evident to others long before
it was to me. Nothing else would bring me the fulfilment and joy which
are to be found in answering the call, in surrendering oneself to God’s
service in the sacred priesthood.
From the day I entered seminary to the day I write these words, I have
not regretted pursuing this path. The journey is not always
straightforward; seminary formation has its times of trial, and parish
life can be demanding. But if you suspect that the Lord who loves you
and who knows you - better than you love and know yourself - is calling
you to labour for His harvest, how can you refuse?