Recently I handed in my final papers, asking my bishop to ordain me to be a deacon, on the path to priesthood. I had to express in my own words that I desire to live a life of obedience, celibacy and prayer. When I was a younger, I imagined by my early thirties I would be married, with several children and a good job. God had other plans.
Having lived a party lifestyle, playing in a band in my early twenties, I began to feel the emptiness of hedonism. As my band fizzled out, I fell into a job in mental healthcare and surprisingly enjoyed it. It was a privilege to work with talented colleagues and great characters in the patients under my care. Experiencing deep suffering began to cut through my shallow materialistic attitude.
I began to ask questions and picked up the children’s bible one day. I always found the bible difficult to engage with, but the simplicity of the children’s version began to move my heart. I recognised Jesus in the stories from my childhood and felt a pull towards him, an attraction, a relief. That began my quest for answers about this Catholic Faith I had been brought up in. I found good answers, answers that made sense. Especially what the Church has to say about authentic love. For the first time I heard the message (or was able to receive the message) that love is a decision not just a feeling, love is for the good of the other, not just what I can gain. Finally, I realised that love is true when so much of my previous life had been empty.
One day seeing the priest set up for a quiet Tuesday evening Mass, I thought, how amazing must it be to give your whole life to loving completely. This was the start of my journey to the Catholic Priesthood and after five years of training, I am due to be ordained a deacon. I give all credit to my family who prayed perseveringly for me and to Mary Immaculate for her loving hand in my life. All glory be to Jesus for his goodness to me, that I may serve his people with his love.