Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I thought my link to the comic book character, John Garrett the human-cyborg, was amusing and would get some mileage from my co-bloggers (well, more from Fr. Tharp who actually has met me). Oh, well...here is more of the real story of me, as requested by one of our readers.

My parents recently celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary, and have always been pretty active in the church or church groups. Dad has been a Knight of Columbus for over 40 years, and will be Grand Knight for the third time in a year or so, and was one of the first Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in our parish, still taking Communion to the folks in the hospital. Mom stayed home when we kids were young, but then went to work as a secretary. For a long time she was the office manager for Congressman Christopher Smith (whom we have know since he was a college student), but I think her favorite job was working at the local Catholic cementery (where she met Fr. Hamilton; I don't know why he was at a cementery in NJ). Both of my parents have been very active in the Respect Life movement since Roe v. Wade, and I always knew that my parents prayed together. Mom does more reading about the Faith, and has always prayed for vocations.

I have three sisters, all younger than me, but all close in age. Ann, second after me, is a pediatrician in St. Louis and is married with 4 children. Next is Jennifer who is now a stay at home mom for her two kids, but has a MBA, though now is looking into teaching when the kids are older; she is also married, and they live a mile from my parents. Mary is the youngest, but has my oldest niece (who turns 13 this week). Mary is a kindergarten teacher in NC. All three of my sisters are devout Catholics.

My parents never pushed me or my sisters to consider a vocation in the Church, but they also never discouraged it. They always made it clear that they thought a religious vocation was truly a blessing, and when I first expressed an interest in the priesthood they helped me explore that while also saying that they would be proud of me even if I did not become a priest. That support was a big help. We were always friends with the parish priests, so I had them as role models too.

After completing my Ph.D. and working a year I entered a Religious Order as a novice, but it did not work out. If it was not for the support of my parents, sisters and my brother-in-laws, I might have become very discouraged with the Church. But they prayed me through it, as they did when I decided to give the seminary another shot. This time was challenging too, but I made it by the grace of God. While in the seminary my mother, who has always prayed for vocations decided to join the Serra Club. Actually her club is one of the only all-women Serra Clubs in the world. After a year or so they asked her to be president of that club and she has been for two years now. Last June I had the pleasure of celebrating the Mass in which my mother and her officers were installed for a new term. She just helped plan and run the regional Serra Convention (clubs from NJ, PA, NY, MD, DE). Now they are asking her to be the governor of the local region of Serra Clubs (not the bigger region, just the 5 clubs in the Diocese of Trenton). As she recovers from having her knee scoped she is considering it.

One of the projects that the Vocation Office, in conjunction with the Serra Clubs, is working on is reaching out to parents to get them to support the idea of a Church vocation with their children. Today, parents are the biggest obstacles to vocations because they often discourage it for their children. A priest friend of mine once had a Serran (not from my mother's club) tell him to "stay away" from her grandson when he mentioned that the grandson might have a priestly vocation. Sad.

Please pray for vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and for good Catholic marriages.

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