Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Words from Fr Ed (From May 30, 2010 Bulletin)

Welcome to Brian Thompson
Brian Thompson, First Year Theologian for the Archdiocese of Seattle, arrived last week and has begun his three month summer stay with us. I asked him to say a few words about himself and why he has said ‘yes’ to this path. Here are a few words from Brian on “Why Be a Seminarian”.

Why Be a Seminarian?
By Brian Thompson

First, I wanted to thank everyone at St Stephen’s for such a warm welcome. I am very happy to be ministering in your parish for the summer.

Father White asked me to give a little introduction of myself and talk about what I am doing and why. As you are all aware, I am a seminarian for the Archdiocese entering my fifth year of formation for the priesthood. I started the seminary process after one year of college at UW so the process for me is, overall, 8 years (3 years of philosophy studies at Gonzaga, 4 years of theology studies in a graduate program at Catholic University in D.C., and 1 year of parish internship). So, I just finished my first year of Theology studies at Catholic U. I have really enjoyed the entire journey thus far, and even during the times when there have been doubts and trials, I have always had a deep abiding feeling of being in the right place.

This brings me to the question everyone wants to know about: why? As I have gone through this process I have thought about various ways to explain why I am discerning priesthood. Before I entered formally, it was a sense of call in my heart. Soon after I entered, it was a sense of mission and purpose and hunger to be Christ to others. Now, though the previous expressions are still there, the best and most accurate way to describe it is that I fell in love. I presume those of you who are married have a similar experience, of viewing your relationship with your spouse in varying ways, but at the core of it all is a love that hungers to grow and which has, by the grace of God, the strength to persevere despite the ups and downs of life. One’s vocation is ultimately the manner in which God invites us to share His love with the world.

People often ask me about the sacrifices a priest makes for the sake of his ministry—usually people mean celibacy when they ask that, and at times they have seemed daunting to me. However, as I have grown in my vocation, I have also grown into embracing the sacrifices and duties that come along with a calling to the priesthood. Indeed, the sacrifices are generally life-giving and many of the duties are deep privileges for me. I can only imagine that this feeling will only expand once I am ordained (4 years to go) and am actually doing priestly ministry for real.

Each and every one of us is called to grow in love for our Lord, and each of us has a duty to determine how He is or has called us to love our neighbor. We were all made for a purpose, and though the world is good and can bring many joys, we will only ever be as happy as we can be in this life—and the next—if we discern and do what God made us to do.

Matrimony Part II with Fr. Tom Vandenburg
Please join Fr. Tom Vandenburg for Mass this coming Wednesday evening, June 2nd at 6:30pm, followed by a presentation on the Surprising Sacrament of Matrimony. Fr. Tom served for many years on the National Board of Marriage Encounter and is currently writing a book on matrimony. He has great practical wisdom that can help all of us learn more about relationships. One of his favorite sayings is, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. And in marriage that is the relationship.” You will not have had to be at Part I to benefit from Part II. The class will meet in the Chapel depending on class size.

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