Introductions: Giuseppe Paschal

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Chris was right, is there any good way to start off one of these?

Well, to start off with I was born a cradle Catholic, and raised in a family that, by and large, was 'Easter Catholic.' Finally we started going more often when I reached the 3rd grade but even then it was just showing up in time to receive Communion. If we arrived really early we might hear the Sanctus, but that was rare. In 4th grade I started my after-school religious classes, where I had to be pulled out of the 4th grade class and put into the class for people preparing for First Communion.

Once I received my first Communion I became an altar server. I had always pointed to them and said that I wanted to be one, so my parents arranged it with the pastor and I served my first Mass on Palm Sunday in 1994. I didn't actually get any training, and was a little confused about what to do. I had never been to Mass during the Liturgy of the Word! Everything was new to me, and I enjoyed it!

I was confirmed during my Sophomore year of high school and this was a turning point for me. My sponsor purchased a rosary for me and started talking about praying, but I hadn't the slighted idea of what she was talking about. Never before had I made a connection between those beads and any type of devotion or prayer. I quickly started surfing the Internet to unlock the mystery of the rosary and realized that there was vast world of Catholicism that I had been missing. Suddenly I couldn't learn enough! My faith suddenly became very important to me and influenced my decisions to transfer out of public school and into a private school and then to search out a Catholic college.

Even in high school people began to take notice of how seriously I took my faith. They wondered why I would bother waking up early enough to go to Mass at 6:30 in the morning. To me this seemed like a great opportunity, I got to start off my day with God and then I even had time to calmly unwind before I started my classes. Once I got into college they said that the only reason I had been accepted was that I planned to become I priest. This seemed preposterous to me at the time. I shrugged it off as my classmates being unable to fully understand someone who took their faith seriously.

In college I did my best to attend Mass often, seeing as it was offered right there in my dorm almost every day. I still had friends who asked my when I was joining the seminary and I told them I wasn't. While every now and then I would think of myself as a priest, I never really took it much further than a passing thought. My friends continued to tell me that they thought I should be a priest over the coming years.

During this past Lent I deepened my prayer life and realized how little else I needed when I was with God. The trivial things in life that I worried about slacked away and I was content. Then during a Holy Hour on the Friday before Palm Sunday, I realized "Maybe God is calling me to be a priest!" I went on a retreat that weekend and I began to reflect upon my life and suddenly I realized that I had been too stubborn. For five years I had been saying no and hardening my heart without even being willing to pray and meditate upon the possibility of serving God in the priesthood. My life has been deeply invested in my religious beliefs, and my respect and love for the Sacraments has done nothing but grow since I was confirmed. On top of all this I really do enjoy sharing my faith with others and teaching them about what the Church believes, even the smallest tidbits are exciting to me.

Now, with my graduation from college just over a month away I find myself going deeper into prayer in search of a more intimate relationship with God and in search of how the Almighty wishes for me to serve Him. With my spare time (and even time that I should be using for my studies) I have been searching the Internet along with our school library to find materials on discerning vocations and seeing what types of life might await me if I decide to pursue a priestly life.

I have yet to talk to the vocations office on campus, or to any of my friends about this. Until now it has been a purely internal debate about what God is calling me to. With this post I take it out of the realm of just me and have now involved other people. Tomorrow I might go and visit to vocation's office to get some external (and professional) advice on this, although I am still somewhat hesitant (even writing the post was done over the course of an entire day with doubts about putting it up).

There you have it! My introduction in my less-that-great writing style. Hello one and all!

In Notre Dame,
Giuseppe Paschal

Update: As of August 2008, he is no longer a member of this blog.


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