Pastor’s Desk ~ June 2, 2024

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

This edition of “The Pastor’s Desk” might be called “The Tale of Two Vocations”.

This weekend, Deacon Christopher Girolo, a long-time SV parishioner and alumnus of our parish schools, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Santa Rosa. Ad multos annos!

Vocations, like people, manifest themselves in an infinity of unique forms and circumstances. I do not think I am revealing top-secret info in saying that Christopher wanted to be a priest from the age of about five. Even when he was in religious education here, his teachers all knew it.

Beethoven and Mozart were prodigies so early in life that their talents could be understood only as divine gifts. Whatever their difficulties, they were also among God’s chosen, as there was never the slightest doubt as to how they would spend their lives. Some people seem born fully formed – fundamentally, they do not change. Just so, it is possible to receive a vocation early in life, only to have it grow stronger and truer in age-appropriate ways as life goes on until conscious decisions are made to accept it. The very same could be said about Jesus himself, whose adolescence and early adulthood are shrouded in mystery. Let us pray for Christopher. By  God’s grace, he will celebrate his 50th anniversary of ordination in 2074. He will, please God, ordain infants who will have grandchildren alive in 2200.

The other vocation I learned about early one morning this week. When I was at my former parish, I became friendly with a large, boisterous, happy and exuberantly Catholic family. One of their sons was just back from college at the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio). (It has the largest number of students majoring in theology, catechetics and philosophy of any Catholic university in the U.S.)

I thought this young man might have a vocation to priesthood, and I think he thought so too. But he entered nursing school at USF, and would visit me here at SV on the way home from school. After he graduated, he worked at a local hospital for two years. We lost touch, entirely normal for busy young people going about their lives.

This past Thursday, he texted me at 7:45 a.m., to “check in.” He told me that he had volunteered to rescue and treat civilian war wounded in Ukraine. When I asked him where he was texting me from, he said it was from the war front in Ukraine, and he sent me several photos of him helping helpless people into ambulances for treatment. It was a mind-bender for me, that someone could contact me from such a remote and embattled place. When we were signing off, I texted on a hunch, “Somehow, I thought you were texting me to tell me you’re getting married.” He congratulated me on my intuition, and sent me an invitation to his wedding in Ukraine next week. I can’t help believing that his large, loving and Catholic family gave him the confidence to make such a generous and global life for himself. Who can know where God and life will lead them? Please pray for Dominic’s safety.

It is not the role, but the vocation, that creates the historical personality. These two very different men, and vocations, will make history.

Fr. Bill Donahue

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *