ARCHDIOCESE   OF   CHICAGO
MUN-vocationbook.indd 1                         12/11/06 11:51:38 AM
             Dear Friends of the Seminary,

            I   n the name of all at the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary, St. Joseph
                Seminary, Archbishop Quigley Seminary, Casa Jesús, Bishop Abramowicz Seminary, Tuite
                House and the In-Search Program, may I extend to you my heartfelt thanks for your constant
             prayers and generous support.

             This book, Stories of Priesthood, is a collection of the reflections of 16
             priests on their priesthood and their vocation journeys.

             I hope, like me, you will find their stories heartwarming and inspi-
             rational. As you well know, the stories in this little magazine can be
             repeated by so many priests throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago,
             including your parish priests.

             May these stories of dedication and faithfulness help increase our love
             for the priesthood and our priests as they serve us in the name of
             Christ Jesus, our brother and friend.

             Once again, God bless you for your continuing prayers
             and your financial support of our seminarians.

             Gratefully yours in Christ,

             Very Reverend Dennis J. Lyle
             Rector / President

             www.usml.edu   2   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 2                                                                         12/11/06 11:51:42 AM
                                                  14   Father Matt Foley
                                                       An unplanned turn
                                                       in the road

              Francis Cardinal George, OMI
                  ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO
                                                  16   Father Gene Faucher
                                                       Fifty-five years of
               Very Rev. Dennis Lyle, S.T.D

                          produced by
      University of St. Mary of the               18   Father Gary Graf
                                                       “Missionary” at home
       Lake/Mundelein Seminary

                      Mark J. Teresi
                                                  20   Father Gerald Gunderson
                                                       An ongoing call

                     Holly Bertolani

                                                  22   Father Richard Klajbor
                    PROJECT COORDINATOR

                Printed by Mission Press               The meaning of
            at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls           sacramental moments
        Sponsored by The Archdiocese of Chicago
                    Grateful thanks to
          Faith Publishing Service                24   Father Miguel Martinez
                                                       Devoted to Our Lady
                                                       of Guadalupe

4       Father Bob Heidenreich
        From high-school seminary
        to a life in the priesthood
                                                  26   Father Thomas Mulcrone
                                                       A chaplain for firefighters

6       Father Bob Barron
        Life as a seminary professor              28   Father Waldemar
                                                       A heart for social justice

8       Father Esequiel Sanchez
        Spreading the Good News
                                                  30   Father Edward Upton
                                                       Life as a parish priest

10          Father Ignatius
            Ikechukwu Anaele
            From Nigeria to Chicago
                                                  32   Father Dominic Vin Ha
                                                       Expelled from Vietnam –
                                                       welcomed in the U.S.
            to the priesthood

12          Bishop Gustavo
            Garcia-Siller, M.Sp.S.
            From priest in Mexico to
                                                  34   Father Maina Waithaka
                                                       Kenyan missionary
                                                       in Chicago
            bishop in Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 3                                                             12/11/06 11:51:49 AM
                                                             Father Bob
                                                         From high-school seminary to
                                                            a life in the priesthood
                                                             I have developed very good friends in the
                                                             parishes and with other priests. I have
                                                             never felt that I led a lonely life. Fifteen of
                                                             my fellow priests, who were ordained with
                                                             me, built a house together on Lake Michi-
                                                             gan. They are still my best friends. We go
                                                             to the house on our days off. It is a great
                                                             group for giving and receiving support and
                                                             wisdom. (Father Ed Upton, page 30, is one
                                                             of that group).

                                                             I love being a parish priest and pastor,
                                                             but I have also had other jobs over the
                                                             years. I served as a chaplain in the U.S.
                                                             Naval Reserve at Great Lakes Hospital dur-

                     ather Bob Heidenreich was               ing the Vietnam War. One day a week, I
                     first attracted to the priest-           took Communion to the guys who had been
                     hood as a youth by the                  air-evacuated from the battlefront. So, on
             simple act of a number of associate             Thursday I found myself talking to soldiers
                                                             who had been wounded on Monday.
             priests standing outside church on
             Sundays after Mass, talking with                The formation and continuing education
             kids. They struck him as healthy                of priests has always interested me. For
             men, good role models.                          eight years, I administered a pastors’ train-
                                                             ing program. At one time, I was the dean of
                                                             our deanery (II-C), comprising 11 parishes.
             I went straight into seminary in high           In that position, I had a good view of what
             school, and I was ordained in 1969. I tell      a pastor does or does not do, and was able
             people that it has been both a rewarding life   to offer encouragement, information and
             and fun. While I don’t know what my life        resources to the pastors.
             would have been like if I hadn’t become a
             priest, I think that the same qualities that    I have also worked with Bishop Kane to
             make a man a good father and husband also       set up a mentoring program for pas-
             enable him to be a good priest.                 tors in our vicariate, and am helping
                                                             three dioceses in Germany investigate
             Some people wonder if the issues of             the church in the U.S. so that they can
             celibacy and loneliness are difficult for        learn and implement some of the things
             a priest. I don’t think they need to be.        we do.

             www.usml.edu   4   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 4                                                                        12/11/06 11:52:38 AM
  I think that the        Half of a pastor’s
  same quali-             work is adminis-
                          tering the sacra-
  ties that make
                          ments. The other
  a man a good            half is working with
  father and hus-         the staff to set up a              Do you want to
  band also en-           mechanism to most                   be a priest?
  able him to be          effectively make
                          Christ present to the     If Jesus Christ is the son of God who
  a good priest.
                          parish. That’s where      came to earth, suffered, died for us and
                          the headaches are,        rose from the dead to share God’s life
  but also the fun and the rewards.                 with us, then what he had to say and how
     Everyone in a parish, including myself,        he lived is of ultimate importance.
  has an agenda. So the tough part is trying
  to listen to where the Spirit is trying to take         Do you wish to be a part of
  us as the body of Christ. How do we get to        what he was about so much that you want
  the point where we are fulfilling God’s will?      to live his life and share with others what
  How do we get the involved parishioners           he had to say?
  pulling together toward a common goal,                  Do you want to give your life to oth-
  not just pushing for their own interests?         ers as he did?
  We want to get people energized and                     Do you have a love of the Lord that
  lives changed – to see faith come alive. A        moves you to give God everything, as
  recent example of this is a single woman          Jesus did?
  who worked at an advertising firm. When                  Are you open to his prompting deep
  she caught a vision at the parish, she was        within you?
  eventually able to leave her job to become              Can you love people so much that
  a pastoral associate.                             you are able to love those who are unlove-
  Since life as a priest is busy, I have to               Can you relate to others as “one who
  plan prayer into my day, or it won’t hap-         serves?”
  pen. I get up an hour before our morning                Can you be happy with others and
  Mass to do the Divine Office and pray. It’s        happy when alone?
  a quiet time for me to “get my head on
  straight” before the activity begins.

  Two other important ways I receive spir-
  itual replenishment are from an annual
  retreat and from belonging to a couples’
  prayer group that meets every month.
  I didn’t come from a particularly religious
  family, so seminary and the priesthood
  have been an ongoing development in the
  spiritual life – much as we see St. Paul’s
  life develop throughout his epistles, once
  Christ appeared to him.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 5                                                                    12/11/06 11:52:41 AM
                                                         Father Bob Barron
                                                          Life as a seminary professor

                                                               more personal, to the point that I was thinking
                                                               about the priesthood.

                                                               I continued my intellectual wrestling
                                                               while getting a master’s degree in philos-
                                                               ophy at Catholic University in Washing-
                                                               ton, D. C. By the time I entered Munde-
                                                               lein, I had things clear in my mind, and
                                                               was sure of my calling. My attraction to
                                                               prayer and to the Liturgy helped determine
                                                               my decision, along with my desire to give
                                                               myself to the service of God. I reasoned, from
                                                               Aquinas, that if God is the greatest good, then
                                                               I want to give myself to him.

                                                               A major influence in my life was the
                                                               example of my parents, both great

                   ather Bob Barron is a professor             people. My dad’s faith was the bedrock of his
                   at Mundelein Seminary and the               life, and he was a man of deep principle and
                                                               integrity. My mother and I had many theologi-
                   host of a radio talk show on                cal conversations, even when I was a child; I
             Relevant Radio.                                   would say that any natural verbal skills I have
                                                               I received from her.
             When I was 5 or 6 years old, I remem-
             ber being fascinated by the Mass and the          After ordination in 1986, I served as
             priest. My parents claim that I talked about      a parish priest for three years. Then I
             being a priest even then. As I grew older, that   studied systematic theology in Paris for three
             fascination was replaced by dreams of being a     years at the Institut Catholique. In 1992, I
             baseball player and a lawyer.                     began teaching at Mundelein Seminary, which
                                                               I love. Over the years, I have expanded my
             Then, at my Dominican high school, my             ministry into writing books and articles, giving
             teacher introduced me to Thomas Aqui-             lectures and retreats, and now a radio show on
             nas’ Five Arguments for the Existence of          Relevant Radio called Word on Fire.
             God. That early exposure to Aquinas changed
             my life and gave me a sense of the reality of     As a teacher, preacher and writer, I sow the
             God that I have never lost. By the end of high    seeds of God’s word in all directions, never
             school, my intellectual quest for God became      knowing for sure what the result will be.

             www.usml.edu   6   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 6                                                                          12/11/06 11:52:52 AM
  Years ago, a wom-         But there is a hunger
  an contemplating          for God built into
                            human nature that is
  suicide happened          always there, always
  to wander into            strong. So, when the
  the church where          word is powerfully
                                                               What is seminary
  I was preach-             proclaimed, when
  ing and, as she           the seed is deeply                   all about?
                            planted, obstacles are
  told me later, the        overcome and good               College seminary is for men who have
  words she heard           things happen.            earned a high-school diploma. Major semi-
  kept her from kill-                                 nary is for college graduates.
  ing herself.             For instance, years
                                                            College-bound men and those working
                           ago, a woman con-          on undergraduate degrees should contact:
  templating suicide happened to wander               Rev. Tom Conde • St. Joseph Seminary
  into the church where I was preaching               Phone: 773.973.9706
                                                      E-Mail: tconde@luc.edu • www.stjoseph.luc.edu
  and, as she told me later, the words she
  heard kept her from killing herself. I have               Post-college-age men and those about
  no clear memory of what I said, but God was         to finish an undergraduate degree should
  working through my sermon. More recently,           contact:
                                                      Rev. Joe Noonan • Mundelein Seminary
  I received an e-mail from a church group in
                                                      Phone: 847.970.4845
  China telling me how they have benefited             E-Mail: vocations@usml.edu • www.usml.edu
  from my homilies, which they access through
  the Internet. Stories such as these are deeply            Additional Programs Available:
                                                       Casa Jesús - a house of formation for Hispanic
  gratifying and very humbling.
                                                      candidates wishing to enter the seminary.
                                                      Rev. Alejandro Garrido,
  Since much of my time is spent prepar-              Phone: 312.738.0700
  ing papers and talks, I need to pray;               E:Mail: info@casajesus.org • www.CasaJesus.org
  otherwise, my source for inspiration
                                                      Bishop Abramowicz Preparatory Seminary
  would dry up. The essence of my prayer              - a house of formation for Polish candidates wishing
  life is the Office (the Liturgy of the Hours).       to enter the seminary.
  It is like refreshing water in the desert. I love   Contact Rev. Richard J. Klajbor:
                                                      Phone: 312.455.0598
  the rhythm of it. I also pray the rosary on a
                                                      E-Mail: abramowiczseminary@op.pll
  regular basis, and like to spend time before
  the Blessed Sacrament.                              InSearch - a discernment / formation program for
                                                      adult men considering a second career as priests.
                                                      Contact Rev. Joe Noonan:
  The priesthood gives me great joy. I
                                                      Phone: 847.970.4845
  have never regretted it, or been even               E-Mail: vocations@usml.edu
  mildly tempted to leave, or to adopt
  some other form of life. If you hear a              If you are interested in providing financial assistance
                                                      for the promotion of vocations, please send contribu-
  call from God, take it seriously. Listen
                                                      tions to:
  attentively. Don’t resist it. If the world of-                University of St. Mary of the Lake,
  fers money or fame, don’t listen. Have the                    c /o Rev. Joe Noonan
  courage to follow God. If you’re successful                   1000 E. Maple Avenue, Mundelein IL 60060
  in his eyes, that’s what matters.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 7                                                                                 12/11/06 11:52:53 AM
                                                         Father Esequiel
                                                         Spreading the good news

                                                            Part of the curriculum was going to the
                                                            Philippines for three months to serve
                                                            the poor. That was a tremendous experi-
                                                            ence. I came away with a perspective of the
                                                            church. that wasn’t limited to Chicago. It
                                                            also made me think of how to lead a more
                                                            meaningful life and what I could do to
                                                            change the world. Before, my thoughts had
                                                            been centered on how to make money. The
                                                            result was deciding to become a priest.

                                                            The work we do in our parish, which is
                                                            about 80 percent Hispanic, focuses primar-
                                                            ily on creating and supporting family, and
                                                            on evangelism. I (and some of the parish-
                                                            ioners) walk the neighborhood and talk to
                                                            people one on one. I get out as much as I can
                                                            so that the people can experience someone
                                                            who loves them. We invite them to church
                                                            and, thankfully, people are responding.

                     fter ordination, Father San-
                                                            I try to be a model Christian for my com-
                     chez served three years at             munity. They need to see a priest dedicat-
                     Our Lady of Grace Church.              ed to the parish. Many young people have
             He was then named director of the              a hard time handling commitment because
             Office for Hispanic Catholics in                they haven’t seen it modeled at home. I
             Chicago, where he worked for six               challenge and invite them to think about
                                                            living in a new way, the way Christ asks us
             years. He is now pastor of Mary                to. I want them to understand sacrifice and
             Queen of Heaven Parish, Cicero.                spirituality, and to have a relationship with
                                                            Jesus who is passionate about us.
             When in college I began to think about
             changing fields, my pastor asked if I had       I have some young men in seminary now,
             considered the priesthood. Despite my          and one who will be attending Mundelein
             apprehension, I decided to give it a try for   in the fall. Young men all over are respond-
             a year at St. Joseph (then Niles) College      ing to a call to the priesthood now because
             Seminary.                                      they see themselves as being able to help bring

             www.usml.edu   8   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 8                                                                       12/11/06 11:53:01 AM
  I have no              healing to a commu-
                         nity and solutions to
  doubt that             problems. I ask the
  priests of             seminarians that I
  Jesus Christ           know to think about
  are indispens-         doing something be-
                         yond their capabili-             Come and See!
  able for the
                         ties. I challenge them
  salvation of           to be heroes. People            “As Jesus was walking along the
  the world.             expect extraordinary     Sea of Galilee, he watched two broth-
                         things from those        ers – Simon, now known as Peter,
  called to an extraordinary life. I encourage    and his brother, Andrew – casting a
  young men and women not to be ordinary.         net into the sea. They were fishermen.
                                                  He said to them, “Come after me and
  Do I like being a priest? Did I make            I will make you fishers of men.” They
  the right decision? Absolutely! It’s            immediately abandoned their nets and
  wonderful. I do not only serve as an in-        became his followers. He walked along
  strument of God, but as a witness of his        farther and caught sight of two other
  grace. I have the honor of seeing people        brothers – James, Zebedee’s son, and
  transform their lives. This is not just a       his brother, John. They too were in their
  job. We are supposed to be like Christ,         boat, getting their nets in order with their
  the spouse of the church. A priest needs        father, Zebedee. Jesus called them, and
  to be a father and husband at heart.            immediately they abandoned boat and
                                                  father to follow him.” (Matt 4:18-22)
  One time, a frightened young woman
  with three children asked me to
  anoint her before her surgery for
  liver cancer. When she told me that she
  hadn’t been married in the church, but
  wanted to be, I asked her husband if he
  desired to be married sacramentally. He
  said, “Definitely.” He then went down on
  his knees and asked her to marry him.
  They were married in the presence of
  their children and family, and with my-
  self and two relatives as witnesses. She
  who was buried in pain was anointed
  and reconciled. Her family rejoiced, and
  also prayed for her physical healing. She
  said she never had been so happy and
  was no longer afraid of the surgery. This
  new courage was a visible sign of God’s
  presence in her life. I have no doubt that
  priests of Jesus Christ are indispensable
  for the salvation of the world.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 9                                                                    12/11/06 11:53:02 AM
                                                            Father Ignatius
                                                          Ikechukwu Anaele
                                                           From Nigeria to Chicago
                                                              to the priesthood

                                                             When my father died in 1986, I
                                                             wanted to study in Lagos so I could
                                                             be close to my mother to help her. I
                                                             wasn’t able to, so I had to leave semi-
                                                             nary. Eventually, I moved to Chicago
                                                             to live with my brothers. By then, I had
                                                             decided not to become a priest. I was
                                                             teaching CCD at the parish, and when
                                                             I told the pastor about my background,
                                                             he asked me to think about going back
                                                             to the seminary. He said he would be
                                                             happy to recommend me. As a result, I
                                                             attended college seminary, then Munde-
                                                             lein, and was ordained in 1998.

                                                             I love to celebrate Mass with the

             I    grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and
                  very early became interested in the
                  priesthood, for three reasons. One
              was that the priest is well respected in
              Nigeria. Second, I was able to see some
                                                             people. When I look out and realize that
                                                             I know them and they know me, I feel at
                                                             home. To be with the parishioners is my
                                                             goal and desire. I make myself visible be-
                                                             fore and after Mass for those who want to
              of the life of a priest because I was an al-   talk with me or have me pray with them.
              tar server, and because our pastor would       As a priest, I want to always be a part of
              take me with him sometimes when he             the people, whether at Mass or visiting
              went to visit the elderly and to anoint the    the sick. I am fortunate to be allowed into
              sick. Third, I was fascinated by the way       the intimate aspects of their lives.
              priests dress to celebrate Mass.
                                                             One of the biggest needs of Catholics is
              So at age 13, I left home for the first         to have someone open the Word of God
              time to attend a high-school seminary          to them through both the Scriptures
              about 60 miles west of Lagos. It was           and tradition. Catholics need to have a
              difficult being away from my family, and        better understanding of why we do what
              school was rigorous, but I enjoyed it.         we do, so that they can take that to heart
              By the second year, I had come to know         and integrate it into their daily lives. This
              many people.                                   is what a priest can do for them.

             www.usml.edu   10   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 10                                                                      12/11/06 11:53:13 AM
  I love to            If we believe that
  celebrate            Jesus is the word
  Mass with the        of life, then Jesus
  people. When         should speak to
                       us at every point
  I look out and       of life’s journey.
  realize that I       In America, there
                                                  The application process
  know them            is an abundance                    begins
  and they know        materially, though
  me, I feel at        inside there is                The process of acceptance:
                       often emptiness.         With the guidance from the archbishop
  home.                Because every-           and the leadership of the vocation director
  thing looks OK on the outside, and            and seminary faculty, major emphasis is
  because we are not living on the edge         placed on recruitment, discernment, evalu-
  financially, we don’t realize how frag-        ation and formation of men interested in
  ile life is. Sometimes we fail to realize     preparing for priesthood. The goal is to
  the importance of God. Again, this            prayerfully and carefully select men who,
  is where the priest is valuable to the        by word and deed, will help build up the
  community.                                    kingdom of God.

  When people are sick, dying or in
  any type of need, they naturally turn               First contact:
  to a priest. I say to young men who           a. Personal visit at the vocations office.
  are considering the priesthood, “What         b. Through the local parish priest or other
  other profession can give you access to          staff member of your parish.
  people at critical times in their lives,      c. By letter or telephone inquiry.
  and a chance to give them hope?” It is        d. By participation in a discernment retreat.
  a unique vocation. For me, I am happy
  and excited to be a priest.                         After an initial meeting with the direc-
                                                tor of seminarians, and with his approval,
  My relationship with Jesus began in           the potential candidate will meet with the
  the Eucharist as a little boy, and it         seminary admissions board.
  continues in the Eucharist today. I fos-
  ter it in my prayer time. I read Scripture
  a lot. I speak to God conversationally,
  giving him thanks. When we give thanks
  in prayer, it helps us to develop faith
  and hope, because giving thanks helps
  us to see the blessings God has given us.
  I also pray for our parishioners, especial-
  ly the sick and dying. Whenever I meet
  people, they ask me to pray for them. I
  promise that I will; and I do. That is my
  job; that is my life’s work.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 11                                                                    12/11/06 11:53:21 AM
                                                            Bishop Gustavo
                                                          Garcia-Siller, M.Sp.S.
                                                                From priest in Mexico
                                                                to bishop in Chicago

                                                                The foundation having been laid, my
                                                                preparation for the priesthood would
                                                                continue. My relationship with Jesus grew
                                                                over the years and came to prioritize service
                                                                to others. Every weekend, beginning when I
                                                                was just 11 and lasting until I was 16, I was
                                                                invited by the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit
                                                                to serve the poor in a variety of ways in the
                                                                city of San Luis Potosi. After seeing the lifestyle
                                                                of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, I wanted

                       t his First Communion, at age            to live like them. At 16, I went to Mexico City
                       6, Gustavo Garcia-Siller first            to join the novitiate. The words appearing on
                       thought of becoming a priest.            their vocational outreach literature moved me
             The idea never left him. He began a                deeply. They read, “Belonging all to God, in
             new journey with Jesus, participating              order to belong to all peoples.” First is Jesus,
                                                                who leads us to find others.
             at the celebration of the Mass every
             day.                                               The greatest mystery about being a priest is
                                                                celebrating the Eucharist with the people of
             My vocation was fostered by my family life.        God, especially among the poor. I fondly re-
             I am the oldest of 15 siblings. I have always      member saying Mass in remote villages where
             been able to love the Lord because of the love     rocks were the pews for the congregation and
             I received from my parents, my brothers and        where people longed to build community out
             my sisters. My parents, by their own personal      of love for God and neighbor.
             witness to the faith and their prayer life, were
             instrumental in the development of my faith.       Being from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, I never
             The religious sisters who taught me in school,     thought I would be coming this far north. It
             and others who helped me prepare for first          is all part of God’s plan. Prior to my appoint-
             Communion, instilled in my heart a thirst for      ment from Pope John Paul II as auxiliary bish-
             Jesus. My uncle, who was a seminarian at that      op of Chicago in 2003, I lived the religious life
             time, and my pastor were great inspirations        within the Congregation of the Missionaries
             to me in my vocation. Their presence in my         of the Holy Spirit. I spent most of my priestly
             life exemplified the beauty of the priesthood. I    life on the West Coast of the United States. My
             wanted to be a priest like my pastor. All these    order sent me to minister to migrant workers
             faith-filled individuals imbued a passion for       in California for the first time in 1980, four
             Jesus Christ deep within me. I most especially     years before I was ordained. While attending
             felt great stirring toward the Holy Eucharist.     St. John Seminary in Camarillo, Calif., my love

             www.usml.edu   12   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 12                                                                             12/11/06 11:53:31 AM
  I believe           deepened for Jesus and in-
  that if you         stilled in my heart a greater
                      desire to bring Christ to all
  fall in love
  with God,
  you will find      As the years unfold, I
                                                                   As you discern,
  out what he       continue to experience                      pay attention to these:
  asks of you.      the sense of my own
                    limitations. Even though                 A gentle nudge or tug pointing to a
  the growing sense of limitation continues,           particular vocation or ministry – a recur-
  my faith journey gently reminds me of                ring thought you have dismissed time and
  the overpowering scriptural words, “It               time again.
  was not you who chose me. It was I who
  chose you.” I so believe and remain com-                  Comments and advice regarding
  mitted to daily, extensive time in prayer            your abilities, gifts or future from those
  with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. My              who know you.
  relationship with God sustains, enlivens
  and invigorates me in such a way that I                     The places where you resist God’s
  want to share his love with others.                  invitation – through refusal to look at some-
                                                       thing in your life or by avoiding prayer.
  Every vocation is a gift, a grace from
  God. We come to know it through
  prayer, discernment and community. If
  you are in the process of discovering what          The resurrected Jesus, who promised
  God’s will is for you, I invite you to spend        “to be with us always, even to the end of
  time with the Lord, speaking with him,              time,” continues “looking at people full
  listening to him. Let the Holy Spirit work in       of compassion and does not want them
  you. Seek spiritual direction. Talking over         to walk around afflicted and helpless like
  your spiritual life with your parish priest, a      sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt 28:20, Heb 7:25)
  vocation director or someone in religious life      Jesus keeps calling and choosing among his
  will enable you to understand where God is          disciples so “that they might be with him and
  leading you. There are many people who can          he might send them forth to preach.” (Mark 3:14)
  help you determine if God is calling you to         I hope that if you are a young man reading
  the priesthood.                                     this now, whom God is calling to the priest-
                                                      hood, you will say “yes” to his call and join
  I believe that if you fall in love with             me and my brother priests in the vineyard.
  God, you will find out what he asks of               Then you will be able to partake in this great
  you. Pope Benedict XVI says, “It is only            mystery.
  when a young man has had a personal
  experience of Christ that he can truly un-          “Does not this world of ours need joyful wit-
  derstand the Lord’s will and consequently           nesses and prophets of the beneficent power
  his own vocation. The better you know               of God’s love? Does it not also need men and
  Jesus, the more his mystery attracts you.           women who, by their lives and their work,
  The more you discover him, the more you             are able to sow seeds of peace and love?”
  are moved to seek him.”                             (Pope John Paul II)

MUN-vocationbook.indd 13                                                                            12/11/06 11:53:35 AM
                                                          Father Matt Foley
                                                          An unplanned turn in the road

                                                              My friends probably thought I had had
                                                              too many beers. I remember telling my
                                                              spiritual director at the seminary that
                                                              nobody really expects me to continue
                                                              on and become a priest. His response
                                                              was, “Two people do – you and me. And

                                                              After 17 years, I have no regrets. I am
                                                              grateful. As humans, we sin against each
                                                              other and betray one another, but God
                                                              has never steered me wrong.

                                                              I have four brothers and two sisters.
                                                              My oldest brother has Down Syndrome
                                                              – so I was trained growing up to help
                                                              those who need preferential treatment.
                                                              That also helped me to see that, in com-
                                                              parison, I had been given a lot of ability

             I    was a sophomore at Marquette
                 University and having a great time
                 – studying law, president of the rugby
             club, in a serious relationship with a girl.
             My plan was to marry and have a couple
                                                              and, therefore, much was expected of
                                                              me. My parents were supportive of my
                                                              calling and never pressured me. Their
                                                              attitude was that it was my vocation, not
                                                              theirs. My mother’s brother was a priest,
             of kids. Then God touched me. In the             so that helped form their outlook.
             midst of a very enjoyable time in my life – in
             school, relationships, activities – God called   As a priest, I am privileged to be invit-
             me to investigate following Jesus as a priest.   ed into the most sacred and vulnerable
                                                              areas of people’s lives, to celebrate
              I was bewildered and felt unworthy to           with them and to walk with them in
             be called. God, in essence, gave me no           the mysteries of God and his grace.
             warning or option. If I did not investi-         There are not many dull moments.
             gate the call to priesthood, I would be
             turning away from him. God chose me              I try to empty myself so that God can
             – I did not choose him. The result was           better use me. That is a constant strug-
             that in my junior year I left everything,        gle. I am always pushing myself to make
             and entered Mundelein Seminary.                  sure I’m not comfortable with everything

             www.usml.edu   14   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 14                                                                     12/11/06 11:53:43 AM
  God chose                around me, so that
  me – I did not           I can grow more. I
                           want to stay flex-
  choose him.
                           ible so God can do
  The result               with me what he
  was that in my           wants, and so that       Pope John Paul II invited
  junior year I            I am forced to de-
                                                   young men to consider the
  left everything,         pend upon him. I
                           keep praying, “Use             priesthood
  and entered
                           me, God.” That
  Mundelein                can’t happen if I
  Seminary.                am comfortable.            “The first disciples, and in a special
                                                way the Twelve, were invited to become
  I was a missionary for the Chicago            friends of Jesus. But the condition for
  Archdiocese for six years in Mexico.          being admitted to this privileged relation-
  In fact, I wanted to be a missionary          ship was their radical commitment. Today,
  before I wanted to be a priest. Cardinal      too, the only possible response to Christ’s
  George knows I am always ready to go          call remains that of the apostles: ‘They left
  anywhere. One of my “hobbies” is to           everything and followed him.’”
  visit my family for a while on vacation,      (Luke 5:11)

  then spend the other two weeks of it in
  Mexico with a dental missionary team
  in the area where I used to serve. We
  have probably served more than 5,000
  people now.

  We need to spend less time talking
  about how to spread the good news,
  and more time actually spreading it.
  That’s what I like about Peter and Paul.
  They didn’t sit around until they fixed
  every problem and their community
  was in perfect shape. They moved on
  with spreading the Gospel. To attract
  young men to the priesthood, we need
  the zeal and passion of Peter and Paul.

  For those considering the priesthood,
  I say to surrender to the Lord, to his
  mercy. Take a risk. God never denies
  us. We have a vocation, a call from
  God. We should wear it on our sleeves
  full time, not worrying that if we do
  too much, we will burn out. God has
  chosen us.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 15                                                                 12/11/06 11:53:44 AM
                                                             Father Gene
                                                          Fifty-five years of priesthood

                                                              I offer Mass at the beginning of the day
                                                              at St. Edna Church, where I live. Mass
                                                              is still the center of my day, as it is for all
                                                              the people of God. I also help out with
                                                              baptisms and confessions, with the senior
                                                              ministry at the parish and at a nearby
                                                              retirement center once a week.

                                                              As each year passes, I have more reason to
                                                              be grateful that God has given me the time
                                                              to thank and praise him through offering
                                                              the Mass, and sharing that with others. I
                                                              have come to appreciate that Jesus is a merci-
                                                              ful, forgiving God. He has used me to bring
                                                              people into the church and to bring others
                                                              forgiveness through the sacraments.

                                                              When I was in the seventh or eighth
                                                              grade, I first saw the importance of the

                    ather Gene Faucher came                   Eucharist. This was in 1938-39, when
                    down with pleurisy in high                the Mass was still said in Latin. Our par-
                    school. Thirty years later it             ish priest would take us into the church
                                                              and talk about the Mass – how it is the
             was tuberculosis – because one lung              prayer of the people and it is God’s gift
             had become inoperative. Neverthe-                to us through Jesus. He stressed that it
             less, throughout his life, he has been           was our right as the baptized to share and
             healthy and active, even after that              participate in it. His dedication inspired
             lung was removed 40 years ago. At                me to think about the priesthood. After
                                                              entering Quigley Seminary, I never ques-
             age 80, though retired, he still has a           tioned or doubted that I wanted to pursue
             busy schedule.                                   ordination. The good friends I made in
                                                              seminary confirmed my decision.
             When I was younger, I played a lot of
             basketball. Now, instead of a fast break,        I am very glad that I became a priest. It
             I play golf; and the running has turned          has been a blessed life. I think fondly of
             into walking. But God has given me good          all the people I have worked with and been
             health, despite the one lung. I am one of        associated with – those who want to live a
             the most fortunate people on the planet.         life of service to others.

             www.usml.edu   16   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 16                                                                        12/11/06 11:53:55 AM
  I have never          For 10 years, I taught
  tired of saying       Latin, Greek and
                        religion at Quigley. In
  the Mass dur-
                        talking with the boys,
  ing these 55          and as a spiritual direc-
  years. It is the      tor there, I tried to get
  best prayer           them thinking defi-            The archdiocese is diverse
  that Jesus            nitely along the lines
                        of entering the priest-
  has given us
                        hood. I told them that      Population of Archdiocese:
  to thank God          it was a most enjoyable
  for all of his        and rewarding life, that      White: 1,211,000 – 51.3%
  blessings.            the gains are far more        Hispanic: 939,000 – 39.8%
                        than the demands. To
  me, it’s as happy a life as one could have.         African-American: 93,000 - 3.9%
  Other than the years teaching at Quigley, I         Asian/other: 105,000 - 4.4%
  have been a parish priest, which has been
  most fulfilling.                                     Multi racial: 15,000 – 0.6%

  Our calling as Catholics to be God’s
  people is not an onerous burden, but              Scheduled Masses
  a gift. We have been called, and have a             Weekend Masses scheduled in
  purpose from him. For that reason, I have
  never tired of saying the Mass during               parishes and missions: 1,752
  these 55 years. It is the best prayer that          English: 1,381
  Jesus has given us to thank God for all of
  his blessings. Because of that, I wish I had        Spanish: 246
  lived even more loyally to Christ; but he           Polish: 87
  has blessed me even when I failed.
                                                      Other language: (17) 38

MUN-vocationbook.indd 17                                                             12/11/06 11:54:00 AM
                                                          Father Gary Graf
                                                            “Missionary” at home

                                                            even more today than when I would think
                                                            about it as a kid.

                                                            Serving in Mexico from 1989-1994 was a
                                                            learning experience, first just from being
                                                            immersed in a new culture and language.
                                                            Also, by getting the feel for what it was like
                                                            to be a foreigner in a different country, to
                                                            be a big-city kid in a little village, and to get
                                                            to know people at an intimate level, since
                                                            the parish was small. Those were valuable
                                                            lessons for ministering to my parish, Holy
                                                            Family in Waukegan – where I have been
                                                            since 1994, and which is 85 percent Span-
                                                            ish-speaking. I still have the desire to go to
                                                            other countries, but I am doing missionary
                                                            work, in a sense, right here.

                                                            At Holy Family, we are following the mod-

                        hen he was 8 or 9 years             el of turning declining parishes into minis-
                        old, Gary Graf began                try sites instead of merging them into one.
                        thinking about becoming             At one of the parishes, we have Mass and the
                                                            sacraments; the other parishes have become
             a priest and missionary; he never
                                                            centers for legal services or social services
             seriously considered anything else.            – like a food pantry, soup kitchen, or clothes
             Since being ordained in 1984, he               and furniture distribution center.
             has worked in Mexico for five years
             and predominantly with Hispanics in            What I seem to do most often, and enjoy
                                                            most, is giving hope. Whether at a funeral
             parishes in the archdiocese.
                                                            or in the daily routine of life, I try to be a
                                                            sign to people of what is behind the im-
             I was first drawn to the priesthood by the      mediate, of what is beyond pain and death.
             priests who visited our classrooms. They       Just from being a priest, I have immediate
             were good role models, and had a positive      access to lives. I don’t want to miss that op-
             effect on the parish and community. A priest   portunity to communicate the love, peace
             in love with what he does is very attractive   and message that God has for them. That’s
             to others. For myself, I love being a priest   my responsibility.

             www.usml.edu   18   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 18                                                                        12/11/06 11:54:11 AM
   Being a          Especially in the
   priest is not    Latino community,
                    because of the trust
   so much          in priests, I don’t
   what you         have to go out look-
   do, but who      ing for people. They
                                                            Prayer of
   you are.         come to me. I do my                    St. Francis
                    best to serve them, like
  Jesus, who came not to erect a church
                                                Lord, make me an instrument of
  building, but to proclaim the kingdom. I
  need to organize and live my life so that
                                                your peace.
  can happen.                                   Where there is hatred,
                                                let me sow love;
  Being a priest is not so much what            where there is injury, pardon;
  you do, but who you are. It is a              where there is doubt, faith;
  chance to have incredibly intimate re-        where there is despair, hope;
  lationships with people. A priest needs       where there is darkness, light;
  to fall in love with people. I receive        and where there is sadness, joy.
  warmth, hugs, kisses from the people          O, Divine Master,
  I serve on a daily basis. I can’t imagine
                                                grant that I may not so much seek
  my life being richer than it is now. No
  one in another field can receive the
                                                to be consoled as to console;
  unconditional love I do.                      to be understood as to understand;
                                                to be loved as to love;
  That’s why I tell young men think-            for it is in giving that we receive;
  ing of the priesthood to fall in love         it is in pardoning that we are
  with people and let them love you in          pardoned;
  return. Everything comes out of that          and it is in dying that we are
  relationship. That’s what gives the priest-   born to eternal life.
  hood definition and meaning. It is su-
  perficial otherwise, and makes no sense.
  Together with the people, you enter into
  a dialogue with the Spirit to hear what
  God is saying to us.

  When parishioners come for counsel-
  ing or advice, they are hoping that I
  have a relationship with God which al-
  lows them to hear his heart and mind
  through my words. Consequently, I
  need to live a life of prayer, and maintain
  a relationship with the Lord that allows
  them to experience his love through me.
  I can’t be there for them if I’m not spend-
  ing time with the Lord.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 19                                                               12/11/06 11:54:15 AM
                                                             Father Gerald
                                                                  An ongoing call

                                                              can inner-city parish as my first assign-
                                                              ment. Because of the liveliness of the faith
                                                              there (many parishioners had more faith
                                                              than I did) and the immediacy of human
                                                              needs, I saw a great opportunity.

                                                              Many years later, when I moved to a sub-
                                                              urban parish with a higher educational and
                                                              financial level, I realized that my challenge
                                                              would be to grow in my ability to draw
                                                              people into ministry and leadership.

                                                              Over the years, I have had to learn hu-
                                                              man relations skills – how to deal with

                                                              diversity, plurality, conflict, assertion
                           hen my brother was nearly
                                                              of authority. We don’t come out of the
                           killed in an auto accident, our
                                                              seminary fully formed; the priesthood is on-
                           parish priest anointed him in
                                                              going training. I have tried to make myself
             the hospital, and also helped our family
                                                              available and to be meaningfully involved in
             with other difficulties we were facing.
                                                              the lives of people. That excites me – being
             As a result, at 10, I came to view the priest
                                                              around people, being “pastoral.”
             as an important figure in our family life.
             That impressed me enough to want to enter
                                                              Just as our parish priest was there for
             Quigley High School, which, as a bonus,
                                                              my brother and family, I like best those
             was new and near my home.
                                                              unexpected encounters that can become
                                                              a noteworthy God-moment in someone’s
             I was in seminary right after the time           life, and in my own. When I walk into the
             of Vatican II, and I embraced the open-          hospital, for instance, I never know what will
             ness and newness brought about by the            happen. A person may open up to me because
             council. As one of our professors said, “The     I’m a priest, and I can be significant in his life,
             core teaching of the Catholic Church hasn’t      in a way I don’t control. There are so many
             changed, but our way of articulating it has.”    occasions like that each day which I recognize
             We felt as if our commission was to bridge       afterward, when I have time to step back and
             the old way and the new way.                     evaluate what has happened.

             My idealism was one reason I volun-              Having said that, it’s necessary for us to
             teered to work in a poor, African-Ameri-         understand that our effectiveness isn’t au-

             www.usml.edu   20   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 20                                                                          12/11/06 11:54:24 AM
  Over the years,          tomatic by virtue
  I have had to            of being a priest.
  learn human              A devotional life is
  relations skills         crucial. That’s why I
                           get up at 5:15 a.m.
  – how to deal
                           for prayer, quiet           Who would make a good
  with diversity,          time and reflection.
  plurality, conflict,                                         priest?
                           I know my day
  assertion of             will be hectic soon     Priesthood is more than a career – it is a
  authority.               enough.                 way of life. When considering yourself as
                                                   a candidate for the priesthood, consider
  I feel lucky to be working with two oth-         these characteristics common to all good
  er priests – one younger, one older – at         priests. A priest is:
  Mary Seat of Wisdom. We can bounce
  ideas off each other. I also receive support          Someone who has a deep relationship
  from a group comprised of lay people and              with the Lord through both prayer and
  priests that meets every other week.                  action;
                                                        Someone who is caring, compassion-
  I have had a spiritual director for many              ate, available and welcoming;
  years, who was especially helpful when                Someone who has leadership qualities
  I had doubt and clinical depression in                and potential;
  my early ministry. To have help with my               Someone who is self-assured, yet does
  prayer life and to receive direction was              not think he knows it all;
  invaluable. Having received help is one               Someone who desires to love and care
  reason I serve as a mentor to priests under-          for people of every race, language and
  going their evaluation, and as a spiritual            walk of life;
  director to both seminarians and priests.             Someone who has a servant’s heart
                                                        and the desire to seek ways to help
  Priests can’t have children who become                and nurture others, while caring for
  priests, so in order to have a next                   himself;
  generation of priests, we all need to
  do something to facilitate that. I tell
  seminarians and young men considering
  the seminary, “We need you.” I let them
  know that I am a happy priest, and em-                                    “As a priest, I can
  phasize that the work is fulfilling.                                      promise you sorrow,
                                                                           suffering, sacrifice
                                                                          and loneliness. If you
                                                                          are good priests, I can
                                                                         promise, as well, the
                                                                         greatest joy that any
                                                                         human being can expe-
                                                                        rience in this world.”
                                                                          – Cardinal John O’Connor

MUN-vocationbook.indd 21                                                                       12/11/06 11:54:25 AM
                                                          Father Richard
                                                                The meaning of
                                                             sacramental moments

                                                             year as a printer when I left college semi-
                                                             nary for a while. For my life, nothing other
                                                             than the priesthood made any sense. I still
                                                             can’t think of anything I would rather do.

                                                             I was 16 when my father was mugged
                                                             in 1969, during those years of racial
                                                             conflict. As a result of his death, I was torn
                                                             between going back to seminary or help-
                                                             ing my mother, who had become a young
                                                             widow. She made it clear that she wanted
                                                             me to continue with my seminary studies.

                                                             In my ministry, the sacramental moments
                                                             have been the most meaningful times.
                                                             To be allowed into people’s lives at those
                                                             special moments, even the difficult ones, is
                                                             a great privilege. For instance, it’s wonder-

                    ather Klajbor grew up in a               ful to hear a confession that comes from the
                    racially mixed neighborhood              heart – when I understand what the person
                                                             is saying, and, in turn, when they have
                    in Chicago, and has worked
                                                             heard what I said, and what God said.
             in multilingual parishes most of his
             priesthood. He is rector of the Bish-           People are in church for Jesus, not for
             op Abramowicz Seminary, based at                me. Like my mother would say, “If you
             his parish, Holy Innocents.                     believe what you say you believe, then go
                                                             and talk, and God will take care of it.” If
                                                             we as priests believe we are alter Christus,
             I don’t remember a time from first grade         then we can let Christ work through us.
             on when I didn’t think of becoming a            When good things occur, I’m not doing
             priest. I was always impressed with the lit-    it, God is. There have been times when I
             urgy and with the parish priest, whether he     go to the pulpit with nothing to say. But
             was the type that we revered and respected      it turns out well, and I can’t even tell you
             from afar, or one that played sports with us.   later where the words came from.

             I worked a number of jobs to help put           However, we need to prepare by praying
             myself through school, including one            –including the Office (the Liturgy of the

             www.usml.edu   22   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 22                                                                      12/11/06 11:54:35 AM
  I don’t                  Hours) – and read-
                           ing Scripture. We
  remember                 can’t do our ministry
  a time from              right if we don’t have
  first grade               a foundation. If we
                           don’t pray every day,
                                                      Scriptural reflections to help
  on when                  we get ourselves in        you in your vocation journey
  I didn’t                 trouble.
  think of           When I talk to
                                                    Praying and reflecting on God’s word will
  becoming                                          help you discern your calling. Here are
                     young men about
                     the priesthood, I tell         some passages from Scripture relating to
  a priest.
                     them to look at the            call, vocation, choices and journey that we
                     needs of the church            suggest you meditate with:
  and at their own needs. I tell them
  to be selfish, in one sense, so that they                Old Testament
  make a decision that’s good for them-             Genesis 12:1-4a (Abraham)
  selves as well as good for the church             Exodus 3:10-12 & 4:1, 10-12 (Moses)
  and for others.                                   Amos 7:14-15
                                                    Isaiah 6:8
  It’s a great life, because I can touch            Jeremiah 1:4-8
  others’ lives, and vice-versa. Statis-            Ezekiel 3:1-4
  tics tell us that priests are happy. I am.        1 Kings 10
  Therefore, we need to let people know
  it. Somehow our society has taken the                  New Testament
  notion that priests aren’t supposed to            Matthew 16:24-28 (The cross)
  enjoy life. Who wants to join a fat, gray,        Matthew 22:1-14 (Few chosen)
  grumpy group of priests? But young                Luke 4:1-13 (Temptations)
  men will join a group of happy priests.           Luke 10:38-42 (Martha and Mary)
  They want to be involved in the church.           Luke 12:22-31 (Seek first)
                                                    Luke 18:15-30 (Rich young man)
  When I was ordained, there were                   Romans 8:26-31 (All things)
  30 others from Chicago ordained
  with me. The numbers have decreased
  steadily since then. One of the rea-
  sons we have the Bishop Abramowicz
  Seminary at Holy Innocents is because
  the American church hasn’t been able
  to supply enough of its own priests. We
  have had 14 ordained in the past seven
  years. At present, we have eight men
  from Poland studying with us. I teach
  them English and inculturation. They
  are a reminder that the church reaches
  beyond Chicago and beyond the U.S.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 23                                                                    12/11/06 11:54:36 AM
                                                          Father Miguel
                                                          Devoted to Our Lady
                                                             of Guadalupe

                                                          Since one purpose of a pilgrimage is
                                                          to have an encounter with God, many
                                                          people come to Maryville to get their
                                                          lives straightened out. Frequently during
                                                          homilies, I invite people to the sacrament of
                                                          reconciliation; there is always a big line at
                                                          the confessional.

                                                          I pray for the grace to be a good confes-
                                                          sor, to be available as a channel of God’s
                                                          grace and mercy for those who want to
                                                          reconcile to God, the church and with
                                                          themselves. It is a joy to see the change

                      rowing up in Guadalajara,
                                                          on someone’s face at the end of confession.
                      Mexico, Father Miguel               Their whole lives can be changed with the
                      Martinez was familiar with          words of absolution.
             the devotion to Our Lady of Guada-
             lupe. Now, as a priest in the Arch-          When I was in sixth grade, my parish
                                                          priest invited me to go to seminary. He
             diocese of Chicago, he is director of
                                                          was very self-giving, a good example to fol-
             the Maryville Our Lady of Guadal-            low. I spent 15 years at seminary (including
             upe Chapel in Des Plaines.                   Mundelein). I enjoyed it from the beginning
                                                          – the education, the sports, the spiritual life,
                                                          the discipline. On the weekends, we were
             Next to celebrating Mass, my greatest        sent to different parishes to get a sense of
             passion as a priest is to spread devo-       parish life.
             tion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. I want
             Maryville to become a more popular           Many of my friends and family had
             pilgrimage destination. In the summer,       relatives emigrating to the United States
             4,000 people often attend outdoor Mass on    who were finding it difficult to become
             Sundays, about half of them being pil-       integrated into a church. I knew that I
             grims. There have been many healings and     could help with the process if I became a
             answered prayers, like at Guadalupe, with    diocesan priest in the U.S. When I agreed
             people leaving behind crutches, wheel-       to go to school at Mundelein, I didn’t even
             chairs, etc. as signs of God’s work.         know where Chicago was (or what the

             www.usml.edu   24   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 24                                                                     12/11/06 11:54:45 AM
  I tell them to           weather was like).
  pray often about         I was ordained in
  their possible           2001. There are
  vocation, to go          now close to 50
                           Hispanic (mostly
  to Mass, talk            Mexican) priests in       The Conference Center at The
  with a good              the Archdiocese of            University of St. Mary
  spiritual director,      Chicago.                           of the Lake
  visit seminaries,
  talk to priests,         Three young His-                 The Lord speaks to us in a soft
                           panic men have           voice. If we are to hear him, we must be
  trust in the Lord        been asking me
  and commend                                       still and focus on our relationship with God
                           serious questions        through contemplative prayer. This action
  their decision           about the semi-          purifies the temple of our soul. It removes
  to the Blessed           nary and priest-         worldly distractions and provides an
  Mother.                  hood. One asked          intimate reception that welcomes our Lord
                           to spend the day         into our innermost being.
  following me in order to see what my life
  is like. As priests, we need to invite and
  follow up with those who show interest
  in a vocation to the priesthood.

  I tell them to pray often about their
  possible vocation, to go to Mass, talk
  with a good spiritual director; visit
  seminaries, talk to priests, trust in the
  Lord and commend their decision to
  the Blessed Mother. Then to do what                     Nestled amid acres of grassy knolls
  their hearts are telling them to do.              and pine groves, the Conference Center
                                                    at The University of St. Mary of the Lake’s
  It is hard for a young person to make a           serene environment offers a special op-
  commitment to the priesthood because              portunity for quiet and spiritual renewal.
  there are so many distractions. The               We invite you to come away with the Lord.
  world offers a number of other things,            Take the time for some quiet prayer and
  like money and career. We live in a society       introspection. For more information, call
  that doesn’t appreciate religion or God,          847.566.8290.
  and priests certainly don’t get the ap-
  plause and recognition that others in so-
  ciety do. I am happy, loved and respected
  at Maryville. But outside the grounds,
  people think I’m crazy to be a priest.         Eucharist more and celebrate Mass with
                                                 greater love and enthusiasm. The Eucharist is
  Over the past five years, I have become         vital for my priesthood, and, in fact, I can’t un-
  increasingly aware of Jesus’ presence          derstand my priesthood without it. It is painful
  in the Eucharist, so I appreciate the          if I ever have to miss saying Mass one day.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 25                                                                        12/11/06 11:54:50 AM
                                                            Father Thomas
                                                             A chaplain for firefighters

                                                                 Working with the Chicago Fire Department
                                                                 has deepened my faith, especially when I
                                                                 see the incredible work they do and their
                                                                 sacrifice for complete strangers. They live
                                                                 the biblical imperative of Matthew 25: “As you
                                                                 did it to one of the least of these my brethren,
                                                                 you did it to me.” Seeing their work helps
                                                                 me to hold on to the basics of the faith about
                                                                 giving up our lives. It ties in perfectly to the
                                                                 Eucharist, Jesus’ sacrifice. When he says, “Do
                                                                 this in remembrance of me,” he is asking us to
                                                                 give up our lives just as he gave his life for us.

                     ather Mulcrone was ordained                 As chaplain, I am on call six days, 24 hours
                     in 1977. He was a parish                    per day. I respond to multiple-alarm fires,
                     priest for many years and is                emergencies, or when there is a serious injury
             now the chaplain at St. Mary of Provi-              or death to members. The majority of these
                                                                 occur between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Another
             dence Home, a facility for mentally
                                                                 part of my job is to visit hospitalized CFD
             challenged and developmentally                      members, visit firehouses, attend wakes of ac-
             disabled young people. Since 1987,                  tive and retired members (about 200 per year)
             he has also been chaplain for the                   and maybe 60 funerals. I attend or participate
             Chicago Fire Department, ministering                in at least 200 other events each year, such as
                                                                 weddings, baptisms, anniversaries and retire-
             to 5,000 firefighters, paramedics and
                                                                 ment parties. Then there is pastoral counsel-
             civilian employees of the department,               ing, a monthly Mass for service personnel
             as well as to their families.                       and family members, and a number of other

             I try to help firefighters discover the               I call my work a ministry of presence be-
             sacredness of their calling by telling them         cause I bring a sign of God’s love, care and
             that their work is noble, that it is God’s          compassion – a sign of God’s great power
             work. Many think you have to be a clergy            of love present to celebrate in good times
             person or a nun to make your work holy.             and to help in the struggles. When I was in
             But these people are the hand of God that           seminary, the rector (who became a bishop)
             touches broken, shattered lives. I tell them that   told us, “If you’re not interfering in your
             over and over.                                      people’s lives, you’re not doing a good job.”

             www.usml.edu   26   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 26                                                                             12/11/06 11:55:02 AM
  I call my work           I have four brothers
  a ministry               and three sisters.
                           One brother is also
  of presence
                           a priest in Chicago
  because I bring          and works with the
  a sign of God’s          deaf (my maternal                            The calling
  love, care and           grandparents were
  compassion –             deaf). My parents                  “The grace of God makes a person
                           passed down to us           into a priest. Simon, the fisherman, before
  a sign of God’s
                           the conviction that         meeting with Christ, however thoroughly
  great power of           living a devout life is     he might have searched within himself,
  love present             the right thing to do.      could not possibly have found a trace of
  to celebrate in          Daily Mass, confession      Peter … yet Peter was to be the fulfillment
  good times and           and the rosary were         of all that he could possibly be.”
                           important to them.
  to help in the                                       (Hans Urs von Balthasar)

  struggles.              It was around sev-
  enth or eighth grade that I first became
  interested in the priesthood, when a new
  young priest brought exciting energy to
  our parish and school. He inspired a sense
  of vocation that stirred something inside.
  I ended up going to high-school seminary,
  then to Loyola of Chicago, before enter-
  ing The University of St. Mary of the Lake,

  I loved being a priest in the parish, and
  now being chaplain. They have been good
  years and I still look at every day as an ad-
  venture. It is fulfilling to serve. Like the priest
  who inspired me when I was 13, I bring
  energy to my work that is fueled by joy and
  love for the Lord. I hope it rubs off. In fact,
  I know that I was influential in convincing
  a dozen young men to join high-school
  seminary when I was a parish priest.

    These days, unlike years ago, more men
  are entering seminary after being out in
  the workplace. Sometimes you need to
  find out what you don’t want before you
  can find out what you do want. They come
  searching, then they make a mature deci-
  sion for the priesthood.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 27                                                                      12/11/06 11:55:05 AM
                                                          Father Waldemar
                                                           A Heart for Social Justice

                                                             and meetings. There I saw many fiery
                                                             priests speaking and working for freedom
                                                             and change. They inspired and influenced
                                                             me. I saw the church’s work for social justice
                                                             as a good and noble thing, and it helped plant
                                                             the idea of the priesthood in me.

                                                             Twice in my youth, Pope John Paul II came
                                                             to Poland. I only saw him at a distance be-
                                                             cause of the huge crowds, but I did meet him
                                                             in Rome during a seminary trip.

                                                             During my teen years, many people told
                                                             me that I would make a good priest. I didn’t
                                                             like hearing that because I wanted to be a
                                                             normal teenager, but I kept it in the back of
                                                             my mind. When I told my parents after high
                                                             school that I was going to seminary, they cried.

                         aldemar Stawiarski had
                         been in seminary in Po-             When I arrived in Chicago, I spent a year at
                         land for three years when           the Bishop Abramowicz Seminary at Holy
             Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Jakubowski             Innocents (see article on Father Richard
                                                             Klajbor, page 22 ). There I learned English
             came there to recruit priests for the
                                                             and more about the culture. After that, I went
             archdiocese. Out of curiosity about the         to Mundelein Seminary for three years.
             United States, and out of a sense of ad-
             venture, Stawiarski decided to go. He           Since St. Stephen is one of the newest
             soon fell in love with Chicago and its          parishes in the archdiocese, it has been
                                                             established on the biblical approach of
             people. He was ordained in 2003 and
                                                             stewardship, by which we share our time,
             is now associate pastor at St. Stephen,         talent and treasure with each other. All that
             Deacon and Martyr in Tinley Park.               we have comes from God, and so we share
                                                             that in our worship, our abilities and our
             When I was growing up near Krakow, my           resources as gift.
             father was heavily involved in the Solidari-
             ty movement, was jailed a couple times as a     One of my favorite parts of the priest-
             result and banned from work for 10 years.       hood is working with couples in marriage
             I would go with him to the secret Masses        preparation, giving them the church’s

             www.usml.edu   28   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 28                                                                       12/11/06 11:55:15 AM
  All that we          teaching and talk-
  have comes           ing about their
                       questions or diffi-
  from God, and        culties. It is a joyful
  so we share          time, along with the
  that in our          wedding, of course.                 Are you looking for
  worship; our         Just being with all                something different?
  abilities and        of the people of the
                       parish, even when I                 Are you looking for
  our resources        am tired, energizes                  something more?
  as gift.             me. I love their will-
                       ingness to be here,         God often speaks to us in the still,
  to contribute – and their smiles.                small voice within our hearts. He also
                                                   makes his presence felt in the other
  I find that if I don’t set aside time for         people in our lives. Priesthood is a giv-
  prayer before or after morning Mass,             ing of self to God and to his people.
  it can get lost in the busy-ness of the
  day. Although my work is a type of                   Are you committed to daily prayer?
  prayer, too, since I try to do everything        Conversing and chatting with God?
  to the glory of God.                             Considering his will?

  Now that I celebrate Mass with my own                 Do you have a sense of humor?
  hands, I feel God’s presence even more
  in the Eucharist and it has led to a deep-            Can you be self-sacrificing in giving
  er relationship with Jesus. That is true for     yourself over to God’s cause?
  all the sacraments. I am serving the people
  and helping them come close to God, but               Is God persistent in giving you
  I come closer at the same time, especially       thoughts of being a priest?
  in the anointing of the sick. Hospital and
  emergency calls are especially humbling
  and moving for me.

  I am optimistic about vocations, but
  saddened at the same time. Most young
  people have their careers set in their mind,
  and don’t even consider the priesthood
  or religious life. I look with hope to the
  younger children, and take the opportunity
  to talk to them, spend time with them,
  plant seeds and try to give them a positive
  impression of priests, so that one day they
  might answer God’s call to the priesthood
  or religious life. Then they will understand
  the joy that I feel every day in serving God’s
  people as their priest.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 29                                                                  12/11/06 11:55:16 AM
                                                          Father Edward
                                                          Life as a parish priest

                                                           friends, and we are still good friends 50
                                                           years later.

                                                           Then, while I was at Mundelein Seminary,
                                                           the Second Vatican Council was being
                                                           implemented. There was an eager anticipation
                                                           that the church could be renewed and could
                                                           be made more alive for people. You might say
                                                           we had a youthful enthusiasm and idealism.

                                                           Our ordination class at Mundelein was the
                                                           first (and perhaps became the model for
                                                           other seminaries in the U.S.) to physically
                                                           leave the seminary during the summer and

                       hree influences at different
                                                           fall semesters in order to do parish minis-
                       stages of my life guided me         try. Those experiences fed into our youthful
                       toward the priesthood. The          idealism. We knew that we could make our
             initial trigger was during grammar            city of Chicago – and our world – better.
             school, in getting to know the priest
             at our parish while I was serving             The seminary rector, Bishop Gorman, was
                                                           a great role model. Aware that the church was
             Mass. I also spent a good deal of time        changing after Vatican II, he was wise enough
             working around the parish, which I            to give us the freedom to talk about our fears
             found worthwhile and which gave me            and concerns.
             satisfaction. The inner stirrings toward
             the priesthood were validated by the          Other than working at St. Mary of the Lake
                                                           for 12 years, I have been a parish priest. I
             priests and sisters, my parents and pa-       like being given the opportunity to enter
             rishioners. It led to my entering minor       into the lives of parishioners at very sig-
             seminary.                                     nificant moments, and being connected to
                                                           families via baptisms, marriages and funer-
              A second influence was the peer sup-          als. I have the opportunity to invite them to
             port available when I entered high-           enter into their own ministry that may come as
             school seminary in 1957. It wasn’t            a result of being baptized, to encourage them
             unusual then for young men to desire the      in it and to help them develop it.
             priesthood, and a large number did. It was
             a supportive environment as we moved          I enjoy developing a vision of parish mis-
             toward ordination together. I made good       sion and bringing it to fruition. One of the

             www.usml.edu   30   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 30                                                                    12/11/06 11:55:28 AM
  Then, while I was            jobs of the
  at Mundelein                 priest is to help
                               lay ministry fit
  Seminary, the
                               into that vision
  Second Vatican               so that people
  Council was be-              aren’t working
                                                                     The Priest
  ing implemented.             in isolation.
  There was an
                                 Celebrating the      To live in the midst of the world
  eager anticipation
                                 Eucharist and        without wishing its pleasures;
  that the church                preaching are        to be a member of every family, yet
  could be renewed               the highlights
                                                      belonging to none;
  and could be                   for me. It’s a
                                 major responsi-      to share all sufferings, to penetrate
  made more alive
                                 bility, not to be    all secrets, to share all wounds;
  for people.
                                 taken casually,      to go from humankind to God, and
                                 and I put a lot      offer their prayers;
  of effort into it. I want to see that the parish
                                                      to return to humankind, and bring
  celebrates Mass in the best way possible.
  Every day, I spend 30-45 minutes on the             pardon and hope;
  Gospel for Sunday – in reflective medita-            to have a heart of fire for charity
  tion, praying over it, reading Scripture com-       and a heart of bronze for chastity;
  mentary and asking myself what the Gospel           to teach and to pardon; console
  means for me and my parishioners.
                                                      and bless always.
  Over the years, I have come to realize              My God, what a life! And it is yours,
  how deeply spiritual people are, and                O priest of Jesus Christ!
  how present God is in their lives. We               – Lacordaire

  need to stop and reflect upon that. As an
  example, I see a richness during Christ
  Renews His Parish weekends when people
  experience God. He is present so much in
  the world around us.

  Support from other priests has been im-
  portant to me. Talking among ourselves is
  beneficial, as with any group of like-minded
  people. The priests in our area meet once a
  month to talk about issues and to help each

  And that group of priests I mentioned              We also do other activities together occasionally,
  that I have known since high-school                such as going to a movie, to dinner, a symphony,
  seminary? We bought a house together on            or going on vacation together. That re-energizes
  Lake Michigan years ago. We connect there.         me for service to my parish.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 31                                                                           12/11/06 11:55:33 AM
                                                          Father Dominic
                                                          Vin H Ha
                                                          Father Dominic
                                                              Vin Ha
                                                          Expelled from Vietnam –
                                                           welcomed in the U.S.

                                                           village, I would only come back home for
                                                           the summer.

                                                           In 1975, when I entered major seminary,
                                                           we had to study theology and philosophy
                                                           “under the table” because the government
                                                           didn’t want any more priests. They wanted
                                                           us to go home and get married. Those of us
                                                           who continued were expelled from the coun-
                                                           try with no identification papers.

                                                           I was sponsored into Savannah, Ga.,
                                                           while I was in the Philippines. From
                                                           there, I went to New York, where I worked
                                                           in a hotel for five months before coming to
                                                           Chicago. I entered Mundelein in 1989 and

                    ecause he was a seminarian             was ordained in 1993. Since my ordina-
                    at the time, Father Dominic            tion, I have been a parish priest and am
                    was expelled from Vietnam              now pastor of St. Henry in Chicago. We
             in 1987. He went to Cambodia,                 have nearly 30 ethnic groups in our parish.
             Thailand and the Philippines before           My desire as a priest is to bring people to
             finally coming to the United States            God and God to the people. I want to edu-
             to pursue his dream of priesthood.            cate people on how to develop their faith and
                                                           how to love and care for one another. Every-
                                                           one should be able to work and pray together
             I grew up in a small village in northern      – every language, every culture – because
             Vietnam. I saw how our parish priest          together we are the body of Christ. We may
             helped the poor, the sick and elderly, and    have differences, but we all have the same
             helped the children learn about God and       God who loves and cares for us and to whom
             the church. That sowed the seed for my        we run when in need. My biggest challenge is
             vocation. Then, when I was in high school,    to learn more about the different cultures so I
             a priest came to our village to visit the     can serve them better and get them to not just
             parish. I recognized him as a good man,       think of their own ethnic group.
             so I followed him around. He talked to
             me about the priesthood, and that day         I pay special attention to the young, who
             convinced me to enter the seminary, which     need to grow in faith and love of God,
             I did at 13. Since it was 40 miles from my    and to the elderly, who need comfort

             www.usml.edu   32   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 32                                                                     12/11/06 11:55:42 AM
  In 1975,                 and care to prepare
  when I en-               for the moment
                           they are called
  tered major              home to God.
  seminary, we
  had to study             One of my aims
                           is to be available
                                                      Facts about the
  theology and
  philosophy               to my parishio-         Archdiocese of Chicago
                           ners before and
  “under the               after each Mass,
  table” because                                 Established: Diocese 1843
                           because I feel that
  the govern-              my presence is
                                                              Archdiocese 1880
  ment didn’t              just as important
  want any more            for them as my        1,411 square miles. Includes
                           homilies.             two counties in northeastern
                                                 Illinois: Cook and Lake
  I am also a part-time spiritual direc-
  tor. I have encouraged a number of
  men to attend St. Joseph Seminary or           2.4 million Catholics (approx.)
  St. Lawrence in Wisconsin, and then to
  go on to Mundelein; three have been            Archbishop: Francis Cardinal
  ordained already. To men considering           George, O.M.I., the sixth cardinal to
  the priesthood, I tell them that “Jesus is
  calling you and wants to use you. Listen
                                                 head the archdiocese, whose lead-
  to this call; it is a blessing. Look around    ers also included five bishops and
  you for a good man or a good priest to         two archbishops.
  learn from, then follow his ways. Al-
  ways keep your mind and heart humble
  and open, because you never know
  through whom Jesus will teach you.”

  We do several things to increase the
  spiritual life of the parish: a retreat
  three times a year, an outdoor Mass
  in English and Vietnamese three
  times a year, a Corpus Christi proces-
  sion that draws 1500 people, and Eu-
  charistic adoration every Friday and
  Saturday for two hours. In addition,
  through the generosity of parishioners,
  we will soon have two 12-ton, 12-foot-
  high statues of Mary and Joseph, which
  were sculpted in Vietnam. They will be
  an aid in celebrating the Holy Family
  and in our worship together.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 33                                                           12/11/06 11:55:51 AM
                                                              Father Maina
                                                          A Kenyan missionary in Chicago

                                                               one such activity, God touched me con-
                                                               cerning becoming a priest. A 60-year-old
                                                               lady was in the hospital dying of malaria.
                                                               While we were visiting her, she asked for
                                                               a priest to anoint her. When we couldn’t
                                                               find one right away, we came back and
                                                               offered to pray with her instead. But her
                                                               only wish was for a priest. That’s when I
                                                               saw deeply the importance of the priest-
                                                               hood and made my final decision.

                                                               I then attended seminary with the
                                                               Society of Missionaries in Africa. My
                                                               mentor during this time was Father Tom

                nfluenced by the Maryknoll                      McQuaid, a priest of the Chicago Archdio-
                missionaries at his parish in                  cese. He asked if I would come to Chicago
                                                               to be a priest; as a result, I entered Munde-
                Northeast Kenya, Father Maina
                                                               lein in 1998 and was ordained in 2002.
             Waithaka has come full circle, now
             serving as a missionary, of sorts, at             Because of the effect that missionaries
             St. Sylvester Church in Chicago.                  had in my life, I always desired to be
                                                               one. Though I had never met any His-
                                                               panics in Kenya, I was attracted to them
               My pastor in Kenya lived a simple life          when I got to Chicago. Their culture was
             alongside the people; he learned the              similar to ours and, like me, they were
             language, rode his bicycle or walked to           immigrants. I figured if I lived and worked
             places, and ate native food. I was an altar       among a different culture, and had to learn
             server and by eighth grade, because of his        another language, it would be like being a
             example, I wanted to go to seminary.              missionary. I went to Mexico for a summer
                                                               of intense Spanish-language classes. My
             Since we lived in a predominantly                 first, and only, assignment as a priest has
             Muslim area, the nearest seminary was             been at St. Sylvester, a parish that is 80
             24 hours away. While there, I joined the          percent Hispanic.
             Young Christian Students. We met weekly
             for prayer and action, and did an hour of         I am fulfilling my dream of the priest-
             free service, such as collecting garbage or       hood – to serve in a bilingual or trilingual
             visiting the poor and hospitalized. During        parish in the inner city, among the poor,

             www.usml.edu   34   Archdiocese of Chicago

MUN-vocationbook.indd 34                                                                       12/11/06 11:56:03 AM
  Though I had             to help build
                           a welcoming
  never met any
                           community. It is
  Hispanics in             taxing work, but
  Kenya, I was             necessary for an
  attracted to             immigrant com-
                           munity. Since those
                                                   As you think about your vocation,
  them when I
                           of different cultures      reflect on these questions:
  got to Chicago.
                           have varying ways
  Their culture            of doing things, the      What is most life-giving for me
  was similar to           goal is to get them       right now?
  ours and, like           to work together
                                                     Where is my deepest desire?
  me, they were            and to accept and
                           enter into each           What are my gifts and personal
  immigrants.                                        qualities?
                           other’s traditions.
                                                     Where am I best suited to serve?
  I enjoy just being with the people, lis-
                                                     What are my commitments?
  tening to them, serving them both at
  parish activities and in their homes,              What do I hear God saying?
  and celebrating the sacraments.                    If I were on my deathbed, what
                                                     choice would I wish I had made?
  I find that the priesthood changes
                                                     What motives are driving me to
  who I am. Through the constant
                                                     choose one ministry over another?
  celebration of the sacraments, I am
  developing a deep empathy with the
  people. I identify with the parishioners
  and they have become my priesthood. I
  say the breviary now, for example, not
  because it’s a requirement, but as a way
  of praying for the needs and requests of
  the people.

  As I live simply among the people,
  hopefully they will be influenced
  as I was when I was growing up.
  Our culture is not inviting toward the
  priesthood, so to encourage vocations,
  we need to start with the family. Priests
  don’t come out of a vacuum. I tell young
  people to search for God before search-
  ing for a vocation. I ask them, “Do you
  believe there is a God? Do you know
  why we go to church? Do you enjoy
  Mass and believe it is really Jesus who we

MUN-vocationbook.indd 35                                                          12/11/06 11:56:05 AM
             Anyone interested in the priesthood can contact
                        Fr. Joe Noonan, 847.566.6401.
          All it costs is a loving heart and a willingness to learn.

           So that others may serve …

                      esignating a portion of your estate to one of the seminaries of
                      the Archdiocese of Chicago enables you to honor the many fine
                      priests who have served you and your parish over a lifetime.
             Gifts through wills are easy to arrange and to change, if necessary. A will
           or trust minimizes probate problems and provides for those you wish to
              If you would like to help us ensure the education and formation of
           tomorrow’s priests by designating a portion of your estate to our seminaries,
           please contact:

                           Mark J. Teresi, Office of Institutional Advancement
                           University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary
                           1000 E. Maple, Mundelein, IL 60060
                           847.970.4817 or mteresi@usml.edu.

MUN-vocationbook.indd 36                                                            12/11/06 11:56:18 AM

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