My vocation story 2

My first three years in the seminary were like a breeze. Not that I was left without the Cross, mainly I suffered only physical ones during this time.
Indeed Our Lady would have neglected me if she left me without the Cross, because she knows what is most necessary for us. But like a good Mother she also knows how repugnant to our wounded nature, the Cross is. So as St. Louis de Montfort says she dips the crosses in sugared almonds to make it more palatable for us. And the more we are faithful to these graces the more will we only desire the Cross.

Tue, Feb 28, 7:56 PM

But to solidify my vocation further, she sent heavier crosses my last 4 years, more spiritual ones.

Wed, Mar 1, 8:06 PM

All through my seminary I received good grades, especially my last 2 years. A rumor spread abroad among the parishioners of my 1st assignment that I got straight A’s. Whenever it came to my attention, I corrected it.
I attribute the good grades to a natural propensity to study, Mary’s grace, and dedication. I did not do as much free reading as the other seminarians, but kept to the class material.

Thu, Mar 2, 8:21 PM

What also helped is I had top notch professors in most of my subjects. Two actually had official degrees in modern universities, the others became proficient because of the years they taught the subjects. My history professor received a degree in history. He taught us World History in our Humanities Year, and Church History from 2nd to 5th year.
My philosophy professor was very proficient and taught us how to think logically. My Metaphysics and Canon Law professor was very proficient. He taught us in Metaphysics to look at the whole of reality and he actually made Canon Law fun. My Dogma I professor meditated upon the Summa. And he stole me from my first love - Scripture, (as far as classes go, because I still prefer the Bible to the Summa). But Scripture was a close second. My first rector graduated from some prestigious university in England. I think it was Cambridge. Besides Literature, and Acts of the Magisterium, he taught us Scripture. And he had a gift to apply it to the crisis in the Church and the world. He also gave us schemas from St. Thomas for each book of the Bible he taught, which were very helpful. When my first rector got transferred, my second professor of Scripture also made us relish Scripture, because of his proficiency in the Fathers.

Fri, Mar 3, 8:27 PM

Keeping with my True Devotion, I gave Our Lady about a 1/7th from all my major orders:

  1. From the subdiaconate, I always offer Compline, (night prayer of the Church), for her intentions.
  2. From the diaconate, I promised to always mention her at the end of every sermon. As a priest I extended it to mention her favorite devotion as well - the Rosary.
  3. From the priesthood, I always offer up Saturday Masses for her intentions. Hence I take no stipend.

Sat, Mar 4, 7:49 PM

The day of my ordination was the happiest day of my life. And I wanted to share that joy to the multitudes. Rather than be asked, I would ask the faithful if they wanted my first blessing. And I did an unheard of number of First Masses during the summer, something like 11 in our different parishes.

Sun, Mar 5, 7:55 PM

I would like to rewind a little bit in order to show a great grace Our Lady gave my father. My father was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Hence he wouldn’t practice religion, because he disliked the crowds. Hence he smoked about 3 to 4 packs of cigarettes a day, while drinking coffee, because of the anxiety caused by the mental illness.
Him and my mom came to my ordination to my diaconate. And my dad actually went to confession. And the fruits of that confession were tremendous. He gave up coffee and smoking cold turkey, up till his death, ten years later. He still didn’t go to Mass on Sundays, but he watched Mass everyday on the TV.

Mon, Mar 6, 7:57 PM

Another anecdote to show the confusion in the Church. When it came to my priestly ordination, my mom, despite coming to my diaconate, started having scruples about whether she should attend or not. She watches EWTN all the time. And she watched one show where an EWTN priest was interviewing a Fraternity of St. Peter priest. So she called the EWTN priest and he said no she should not attend. But then she called the Fraternity priest and he said of course you can attend, participate, and even receive Communion. So she ended up coming.

Tues, Mar 7, 8:28 PM

My first assignment was to the biggest traditional Catholic community in the world. We have a bigger parish in France with 5,000 parishioners, but it is not a community. At my first assignment, besides being a huge parish, we had a school from Kindergarten to 4 years of College, (now only two).

Wed, Mar 8, 8:25

I loved it there. You walk down the street everyone says hello. You go into a store that is both owned and worked by parishioners.

Thurs, Mar 9, 7:46 PM

This community started out as just a boarding school. But families kept moving in so they could send their kids to this school. So my1st assignment was to teach 7th and 10th grade religion to the boys. We do have a girl’s school but as is traditional they are separated.
Some of the staff told me don’t smile in class until Christmas. I thought this was severe. But I learned my lesson. The 7th grade boys were difficult for me, because I like to be funny when I am teaching. But when you do this, they get all rowdy. Then when you try to get control by being serious, they lose interest.
The 10th grade boys were a little more mature, so I didn’t have the same problem with them.

Thu, Mar 16, 8:32 PM

So sorry, I have been busy. So my Rector/Prior noticed my difficulties with 7th grade. So the next year, he took me off 7th grade religion. He kept me on 10th grade religion but to fill the hole he gave me some parish duties.

Fri, Mar 17, 8:18 PM

But then during my 3rd year of priesthood, we received a new rector. He decided to put me back on 7th grade religion, with 10th grade religion and the parish works. He wanted to make sure I was busy. It was, I think, the most work I had as a priest.

Sat, Mar 18, 7:16 PM

This time I took the advice of the staff, I didn’t smile until Christmas. I was therefore able to have more control over the classroom. But the rector still wasn’t satisfied, so he took me off teaching permanently and made me a full time parish worker.

Sun, Mar 19, 8:09 PM

I do like teaching, but to those who are interested. So I didn’t care too much about being taken off 7th grade religion, but I did regret a little bit being taken off 10th grade religion. I will go through my parish duties. First of all schedules, monthly ones and weekly ones. This can seem overwhelming to some, but I have a mathematical mind, so it was easy for me. I must admit though when I was on Sabbatical, they made nice enhancements to the monthly schedule.
Mon, Mar 20, 7:07 PM

My name is easier to pronounce than it looks. So in jest my confreres would come up with different names. So when I was given the duties of Baptisms, one confrere referred to me as Fr. Arabaptist. It was fitting since unless the family requested someone else, I did the baptisms. At the end of my days there we were averaging 120 baptisms a year, of which I did the majority. I have performed over 500 baptisms in eight years of work.

Tue, Mar 21, 7:02

Because our parish was so numerous and fecund, both priests and faithful thought I must be very busy. But the truth of the matter is the births came in waves. Sometimes there were several in a week, (my record is 5 in one week). And other times I could go 2 weeks without a baptism. And I would double up as much as I could. But since some of our extended families are huge, I never would triple up.

Thu, Mar 23, 7:33 PM

The Church wants you to explain the ceremonies to the faithful. This is done by a general speech in the beginning, (no more than 5 minutes), and one liners for each ceremony.
Each ceremony, like all sacraments either disposes the recipient to receive the grace of the Sacrament, or shows the effect of that grace, like the white garment after the baptism.
Anyway, I got bored of saying the same thing for my speech. So I went through the baptismal rite, one prayer at a time. When I finished the ritual, I started using my Summa notes on Baptism, from De Sacramentis.

Fri, Mar 24, 6:56 PM

The next important duty I had were sick calls. I had about 30-40 sick calls a month.
There was therefore, a conversation between the parish priest and the rector, because I was doing a lot of people once every week. The person before me must have been really zealous. The parish priest said that sick calls are normally once a month. But it was argued that since it was a Catholic community and we are so close it should be more frequent. So the rector decided, those who already receive once a week, will continue to. But new ones who live in the town will be seen every 2 weeks. And those further away, once a month.

Sun, Mar 26, 8:28 PM

Another life-saver set up again by the parish priest was to celebrate Mass at the Manor.
You see, after 8-10 sick calls driving around town on Fridays, (Tuesdays and Fridays were my sick call days), I was wearied. And then after that I would have to go to the Manor and go to 6 different rooms and repeat the same prayers.
With Mass at the Manor on Wednesday mornings, I would just celebrate one Mass and all would receive. The only thing I had to do was arrive about 1/2 hour early to see if anyone wanted to go to confession. My Fridays were made much easier.

Mon, Mar 27, 7:57 PM

It’s normal to spend a little time with the sick person. But with my schedule that was very difficult. I usually ended up spending the extra time only with my last sick call. They would serve me refreshments.
I felt guilty about this because I thought I was showing favoritism. So a couple of times I tried changing who would be the last sick call. But ultimately it didn’t work, because most of the other sick people were not accustomed to having a priest as a guest. After 2 hours of sick calls I wasn’t even offered a cup of water. And I was so wearied that I could do them very little spiritual good.

Sat, Apr 1, 7:56 PM

I am sorry, I have been busy.
But to continue, I inherited the emergency sick call cell phone. It was decided by the rector and parish priest that it was fitting that the sick call priest should have it.
This is truly a privilege for the parishioners. Because most of our priories just listen to the answering machine at the end of the day.

Sun, Apr 2, 7:48 PM

Because I now had the emergency cell phone, and was dealing with the faithful who were dying, I started calling myself Fr. Kevorkian. But it was really a misnomer. I had a pretty good rate of recovery. But some of our other priests didn’t have such a good rate, we would call them the angel of death.

Wed, Apr 4, 8:24 PM

I had some calls in the middle of the night. Two come to mind that are edifying. One was like 3am and it was 45 minutes away. This lady had a triple hemorrhage in her brain. The son was almost telling me not to come, because she would die soon. I was like the Church gives you up to 2 hours after clinical death, because we don’t know exactly when the soul leaves the body. So I went and anointed her, she was still alive. And on the strength of that Sacrament not only did she recover, she was still alive when I left the parish. And I brought her Communion once a month for several years.

Thurs, April 5, 9:46 PM

The other episode took place at 1:30am, but this one was a 1/2 hour away. I got there, and the family is telling me she is not catholic. I asked them if she was disposed towards Catholicism. This is what we call the interpretative intention. If the unconscious non-Catholic showed a tendency towards Catholicism, we could anoint conditionally. If the person actually said he wanted to be Catholic, then absolutely. They told me yes, she agreed to wear the brown Scapular, which she was still wearing. So I conditionally baptized her, just in case her baptism wasn’t valid. Then I gave her conditional absolution, just in case her baptism was valid. Then I confirmed her conditionally. Then I gave her Extreme Unction conditionally. A lot of Sacraments in one night.

Fri, April 6, 8:50 PM

And I became proficient with the last rites, even under pressure. I remember I went to a hospital for a parishioner, and when I was done the chaplain grabbed me saying they had a Catholic about to go to surgery. So I went, starting with blessing the room. Then one of the doctors barked at me saying, “Hurry up!”. Then I realized with not much time I have to use the shortened form or the emergency form. So I just anointed the forehead, (seat of all the senses). Then I stepped back, finishing the prayers in the corner.

Sat, Apr 8, 7:57 PM

One of my weak traits is that I am not a good comforter. But Holy Mother Church is. Just explaining the last rites as I performed them brought family and friends immense comfort. I could tell this was the case with the profuse gratitude given to me afterwards. This is actually an important point, the priest doesn’t have to be a social worker, the Church already has that covered.

Sat, April 22, 8:17 PM

We didn’t receive pastoral theology in the seminary, and it shows. A lot of our priests don’t give everything at once, because they don’t know how. For example, they will give the Apostolic Blessing at another time then Extreme Unction. This is contrary to the mind of the Church, who styles it the last rites, hence multiple rites, and more work for them. So if one is called for the last rites, one gives confession, (if they want), Apostolic Blessing, Extreme Unction, and Viaticum. For this one does not have to multiply the times one blesses the room or the confiteor. One blessing for all the rites. One confiteor for all the rites.

Sun, April 23, 7:42 PM

Before Pius XII, I think priests would give Holy Communion and then Extreme Unction. But Pius XII said the order should be: 1) Confession, then 2) Extreme Unction, and then 3) Holy Communion. He said this should be the way because the Holy Eucharist is the crown of all Sacraments, because it contains the Author of all the Sacraments, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apostolic Blessing, I think should be given after Confession, because it deals with the 3rd part of Confession, Satisfaction.

Mon, April 24, 8:24 PM

When someone is actually dying, I was taught to recite the litany of the departed and then recite a rosary with the family. You can’t stay there all day, and just to have a priest present for that long is consoling for the family.
There are extra prayers for the dying in the ritual. But I think the parish priest at that time told me to say a rosary instead, because the prayers are kind of scary. I have added a couple of times the prayers for the dying and Thank God most of the dying are unconscious. They insist on Our Lord’s strict justice, while imploring his generous mercy. The Church probably designed the prayers this way, to warn those who are present, that they too will die one day, so they should prepare for death now.

Tues, April 25, 8:26 PM

There are two extremes to this Sacrament, and they are based on its names. The first and more common among Traditionalists is Extreme Unction. Some overemphasize the word “Extreme”. Hence they are unwilling to give this Sacrament, unless the person is dying.
The second name and more common with mainstream is Anointing of the Sick. These overemphasize the word, “Sick”. Hence an otherwise healthy person who gets a cold, or the flu can receive this Sacrament. In the mainstream they even have lines for this Sacrament after certain Masses.
No, the proper subject for this Sacrament is someone who could die from an internal sickness or old age.

Wed, April 26, 5:54 PM

Communion given with Extreme Unction or given to the dying is called Viaticum, which means, “take with you on the way”. What way? The passage from this life to the next. Therefore, Holy Communion is to make that transition from this life to the next life go much smoother.

Sun, May 21, 8:29 PM

The Apostolic Blessing is given once because it’s good up till death. It is a plenary indulgence at the moment of death. But the recipient has to do three things at the moment of dying: 1) Call upon the name of Jesus, even if only mentally.
2) Offer up all the sufferings of dying for past sins.
3) Be resigned to the will of God even in death.
With this indulgence and doing these things, the recipient goes straight to heaven. Obviously we still pray for their souls, because we don’t know their dispositions at death. A lot of times the recipient is unconscious while dying, so I tell family and friends, besides other prayers to whisper these things in his ear.

Wed, May 24, 8:06 PM

I also gave out numerous Communions, which besides the normal routine, they made me help out with the school Masses. 11:15 was the school Mass. Mondays were high school boys, Tuesdays were high school girls, Thursdays lower school boys, and Friday lower school girls.

Fri, May 26, 7:44 PM

Then there were confessions. We each had a night of confessions assigned from 7-9pm. Then on Sundays during the Masses we had 1and half hour slots. During the summer, since other priests were on vacation, they would ask us to fill in, so sometimes we had two 1 and half hour slots, so 3 hours of confession.
Now this is nothing if you are the Cure of Ars. But most priests’ brains are fried after so long a time. This has nothing to do with any particular type of penitent, but with the quantity and duration of the confessions.

Sat, May 27, 7:44

The ready availability of confession could lead to the abuse of recidivism, whereby the penitent doesn’t have true sorrow, because he makes little or no effort to stop sinning. This is a very important point, because the acts of the penitent are the matter of this sacrament. If he is missing supernatural sorrow, which includes the firm purpose of amendment, the sacrament is invalid.
A senior priest brought this danger to the attention of the Rector/Prior. So at one of our monthly priests’ meetings, the Rector/Prior gave the good advice, of asking the penitent who has acquired grave sinful habits, what was the advice given in your last confession. And then the follow up question, have you tried this advice, to see if he is really making an effort or not.

Sun, May 28, 7:56 PM

Because of the numerous Sacraments I gave, as much as the teacher priests, (Communions, and Confessions), and beyond that what I did as a parish assistant, (Baptisms and sick calls), sometimes I felt like a Sacrament machine. But instead of letting that bog me down, I would try to sanctify myself more. So, besides receiving the grace ex opere operato, they would receive additional grace. It’s like Our Lord said at the Last Supper, speaking of the Apostles, I sanctify myself for them.

Tue, May 30, 8:02

Another thing to consider in this connection is every grace given to men has to be merited three-fold. First, by Our Lord on the Cross. Second, by Our Lady who co-redeemed us at the Cross. And thirdly, by a wayfarer, on earth.
Now for most priests, especially me, (since I was a giver of a lot of Sacraments), it’s unlikely that the priest merits every grace he gives. Thank God, therefore, for the religious orders and pious associations of the faithful, who merit a lot of the graces the priest gives.
This was the first secret of Fatima, the vision of hell. After the vision Our Lady said, now you see where poor sinners go, because they have no one to pray for them. After that vision, they then gave themselves up to prayers and extreme penances.

Wed, May 31, 1:05 AM

Another thing to consider in this connection is every grace given to men has to be merited three-fold. First, by Our Lord on the Cross. Second, by Our Lady who co-redeemed us at the Cross. And thirdly, by a wayfarer, on earth.
Now for most priests, especially me, (since I was a giver of a lot of Sacraments), it’s unlikely that the priest merits every grace he gives. Thank God, therefore, for the religious orders and pious associations of the faithful, who merit a lot of the graces the priest gives.
This was the first secret of Fatima, the vision of hell. After the vision Our Lady said, now you see where poor sinners go, because they have no one to pray for them. After that vision, they then gave themselves up to prayers and extreme penances.

Sun, Jun 4, 8:04 PM

Sorry I forgot the last couple of days.
Anyway, I did have a chance to teach. I trained the adult converts. Now a lot of converts come because they want to get married to one of our faithful. For these I make sure I insist that they must live a Catholic life, even if things don’t work out with their potential spouse.

Wed, Jun 7, 5:58 PM

As the converts started increasing, I was losing all my nights. So to be more efficient I had one class for all the converts. And for newcomers, I would just plug them in where I was at, and keep them till they reached their starting point.

Fri, Jun 9, 7:55 PM

The best Catechism overall is the Catechism of the Council of Trent. But this is for those proficient in the Christian doctrine. So for the converts I chose the Catechism of St. Pius X. I think this is the best Catechism for beginners. The format is simple question and answer. And the content follows the classical four-fold division of the Christian Doctrine: 1) Faith - The Apostles Creed; 2) Hope - Prayer, especially the Our Father and Hail Mary: Charity, 3) Commandments- “If you love me my Commandments”, 4) Sacraments - the main sources of grace.

Sat, Jun 10, 8:07 PM

I also had another chance to teach: adult catechism. It is a duty to that the pastor continue to instruct the faithful in the Christian doctrine. Pope St. Pius X, even went so far as to say that if the pastor, through time constraints, had to choose between a sermon or a catechism lesson, he should choose a catechism lesson.

Sun, Jun 11, 7:48 PM

For a one Mass parish, the best time to do it is after the Mass. If a two Mass parish, the best time to do it is between the Masses. If there are more than two Masses, the best time to do it is sometime during the week.
If a substantial number of the faithful don’t show up there is a trick, one can use the sermon as a catechism lesson, of course always tying it in with the liturgical season. In fact, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, has as an appendix, appropriate dogmatic and moral sections for each Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation.

Mon, Jun 12, 7:56 PM

Because we reached 6 Masses on Sundays, it was very inconvenient to have Adult Catechism. So we did it on Tuesday nights. It was not well attended. From a parish of about 5 thousand, at most only 30 would show up. You see it was difficult for families with young children. Those who came were either were elderly, hence all their children were out of the house, or those who had children old enough to hold down the fort for a couple of hours.

Tue, Jun 13, 7:44 PM

But I didn’t care if only 10 people showed up, because they wanted to be there. This is the second reason why I had great joy in teaching, because of those who wanted to be taught. The first reason is the relish of the Christian doctrine itself.

Wed, Jun 14, 8:05 PM

When I first got there, Adult Catechism was done by rotation. Each priest would be assigned a month. The rector would choose a new book when we were done. We were doing a book on Church History.

Thu, Jun 15, 7:58 PM

Since, the priests who were more involved in the school were having trouble preparing these classes, and since I was a parish assistant, the rector decided to give me this job permanently. So I finished the Church History book. Then he assigned me the Catechism of the Council of Trent, which I finished after 4 years. The new rector left the choice up to me, so I chose Scripture.

Fri, Jun 16, 7:56 PM

I started from the beginning, Genesis. For each book I used my seminary notes, where this was lacking I picked up a commentary on that book. I used a collection of the Church Fathers on each book. And I used a biblical history book to put every book in context.
Besides this I used a lot of print outs from Google. And a lot of them came from Protestant websites. Since that is all they have some of them get really into it. I will give you an example of the type of print outs I would get. So in the Pentateuch, they described Aaron dressed up as high priest. When reading it, you have no idea what it looks like. But I would get printouts of Aaron in his priestly garb pointing out each piece. So, for example it would point out the ephod and the urim and thummim . I told my old seminary professor about the oracles of Google, to help with the subject matter. I also told the faithful that I was teaching that they by no means could visit these Protestant websites, because of the danger to the faith. I could because of my studies in Sacred Scripture.

Sat, Jun 17, 7:15 PM

I became proficient in this. I was able to solve questions my former Scripture professor didn’t know. I made it all the way to Judith, before I was put on Sabbatical.

Sun, Jun 18, 7:17 PM

Being on Sabbatical, I keep myself busy by sending emails, praying a lot of rosaries, calling upon the name of Mary frequently, and talking to Our Lady. St. Louis Marie de Montfort says if you talk to Mary as a friend talks to another friend, you will not sin.
Also, I might add, quite a bit of suffering, but I thank Mary for this, because she is able to use it for souls according to the greater glory of God.
As you can see, my spirituality is Mary, because for me Mary is everything.
This concludes what I want to say, if you have any more questions just ask

Tue, Jun 20, 2:48 PM

First, are you happy with what is happening?
Your tone seemed to change over the weeks/months.
Or is it more a question of acceptance?
What about the future?
The next steps?
Do you have any choices?
What would you like to do?
Depending on your answers, depends the direction of my next questions.

Tue, Jun 20, 8:03 PM
WOW! You hit me up with a lot of questions at once. I will not answer them all at this time. I think what I am about to say will answer the first three questions.
On the human level the Cross is painful. This was shown to us by Our Lord in His agony, when he permitted nature to cry out, “Father let this chalice pass from me, but not my will but thine be done”. But by grace the more one embraces the Cross, the more one begins to love it. Especially when one is devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Louis says that for her clients she dips their crosses in sugared almonds, so they may find them sweet. So ultimately one can reach the level of the saints who gloried in the Cross.

Sat, Jun 24, 7:49

The answer to your next questions is that the future is in Mary’s hands. I am just awaiting her deliverance. My choices and desires are to do her will.

1 Like

Thank you for a fascinating glimpse into your vocation. Too many great insights to list them all but it was a wonderful read. God bless you tremendously.

1 Like

Thank you very much!

2023-12-19T23:20:00Z I agree with you on that one.