I heard my calling to the priesthood quite palpably when I participated in World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002. During the final Mass, Pope John Paul spoke about the priesthood and he encouraged us to be prepared to hear and to follow Christ’s call. I still remember it clearly. He said:
’If in the depths of your hearts, you feel the same call to the priesthood or consecrated life, do not be afraid to follow Christ on the royal road of the Cross!’
Those words ringing out among the one million young people gathered for Mass were a moment of clarity for me. I can only describe it as a movement of the Holy Spirit, but I understood that Christ was inviting me to share in his ministerial priesthood.
I felt it as an invitation and not a command; a call which sought a response. I had been discerning the priesthood for some time up until that point but this was my lightning bolt moment.
The clarity of God’s call has never left me. It has been four years since my ordination to the priesthood and that was the day when I gave my definitive response to Christ’s invitation to follow Him along the road of the Cross.
My four years as a priest have been the most joyful of my life.