Introduction: Chris

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Is there any good way to start one of these?

I am a cradle Catholic, second of six kids. I first heard the call in first grade, or so I'm told. I honestly can't remember desiring anything else. I Loved watching the priest on the altar, mimicking his every move.

I couldn't wait to receive Jesus, and to participate more in the Liturgy. In second grade I finally got do both, joining the children's choir. In choir I met the man who made the biggest impression on my faith, the music director of our parish, Mr. Lucasi. His reverence for the Eucharist, and attempts to ensure that we profitted from the homily despite being in the choir loft, were a wonderful example to me.

My parents, who had semi-lapsed, explored the faith with us as we grew, and we all went deeper. Especially important in my understanding of the faith were my conversations with my many non-Catholic friends. Forced to find answers for what I did not know, I learned much more than I would have otherwise.

In eighth grade I re-entered the Catholic school (after being homeschooled since Kindergarten). Until going to school, my vocation was supported by everyone I knew (or at least not openly opposed... two of my aunts are not thrilled, but will know that this is where I am headed so don't make waves). My fellow students thought I was strange, but didn't really care enough to pick on the new nerd. My teacher, however, told me I had time to grow out of "it". Needless to say, I did not enjoy that year much, and returned to homeschooling again the next year.

We had first been introduced to the Apostolate for Family Consecration when they came to Philadelphia and we were enlisted to help. Through our contact with them we discovered the Divine Mercy Devotion, and through that our relation to Sister Faustina (through marriage). We had taken yearly trips to their Family Fests, week long family retreats, at which we served at beautiful Masses. Twenty some servers, as many as twenty priests, four deacons, a bishop or two, and (usually the week we were there) Cardinal Arinze, with all the smells and bells. In 1998, after my freshman year of high school we moved to Steubenville, OH, so my dad could work for the Apostolate.

Our parish there sponsored the Pre-theologate program at FUS, by means of a dinner once a semester and prayers. I was very intrested in the program, as I could complete it with a major in my subject of choice, math. (And I wouldn't have to take a foreign language!) I took a few courses at FUS in my senior year (Calc and Physics), and entered the program my freshman year.

Two days before finals, my world came crashing down. Decmber 6, 2001. My family was preparing to move back to NJ as the Pittsburgh job market was rapidly disappearing. My dad was on his way to pick me up from school, to pick up the truck and help load it. He never arrived, dying in a car on the way into town. I struggled with life in general, but the only doubts I had about my vocation were related to school. I failed out two semesters running, and then took some time off. I was so messed up with trying to finally confront my grief that I almost got kicked out of the house after a year of part-time jobs.

I moved out to Steubenville two years ago this summer, returned to school, and ran out of money after one semester. I had joined the Watchmen of Zion household, and began to get my discernment back on track. I bought the diary of St. Faustina and finally read it during lent 2005. I dedicated my discernment to Mary, asking her to send one of her sons to guide me home. Through an increased devotion to her, I was able to re-establish my prayer life to her Son. I thought about forming an order with a household brother. Summer passed.

God smacked my upside the head. I had known about the Marians, of course, but had always found a reason to visit them. I contacted Father Calloway and went on retreat with them in October. I knew I had finally come home. I made arrangements to move home so I could save money, and started my application. I will be finishing the application soon, for fall 2007.

chris

Update: As of July 2008, ChrisN is no longer a member of Holy Vocations Blog.

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