By Father Marty Goetz
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’” (John 20:19-21)
There are times as vocation director that I feel like one of the disciples. There are times I want to hide behind locked doors.
“Why doesn’t the Diocese of Davenport have more seminarians and priests?”
“Why is our seminary program such a shambles and our seminarians treated so badly that they are forced out?”
“Why doesn’t our diocese have as many seminarians as other dioceses?”
“Why don’t we get priests from overseas?”
“Why can’t we ordain married men or women?”
“What is the vocation director doing to help?”
I love being vocation director and a priest, but sometimes it’s hard not to hide behind locked doors. Sometimes it’s easier to hide. And when I’m having a bad day pondering all these questions and wondering if I am doing enough and what can be done, the Risen Jesus comes and says: “I won’t have any of that! Don’t feel sorry for yourself. I have come to you behind your locked doors.”
It happened to me this past week. I received a phone call from Mary Kay Kendall whose son Tim, a third-grader, wrote an essay for school. She was so excited that she wanted to share it with me. And I want to share it with you:
When I grow up I would like to be a priest.
I would like to become a priest because I like to take a lot of time in a day for God.
Also since I was very young, I have felt God tell me to follow him.
It is important to me because I also will be teaching others to follow God.
Since Mass is the most powerful prayer, I would get to say it daily and relive parts of Jesus’ life,
And since Jesus is actually present during the Mass, it makes it more special.
It is also important to me that I would get to help others to know God.
I think the more you love God the more clearly you see life.
I also like the fact that to know God is to love more, because without God there is no life at all.
Most of all what better boss to have than God!
These are just a few of the reasons I would like to become a priest.
There is no reason to hide or be in fear — the Risen Lord continues to call. Pray that many more will be as excited about their vocation and answer the Lord’s call in joy, and not to be afraid.
(Fr. Goetz is vocations director for the Davenport Diocese. Contact him at (563) 888-4255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)