The Vocation of Religious Priesthood: A Eucharistic Themed Life

Oct 1, 2023

The will of God has always been important to me. I was told a long time ago that if we do the will of God, we will always be happier. I have seen that proven to be absolutely true time and again.

I was 18 when I decided to accept my vocation. That might sound young, but I was not choosing a path for my life. I accepted the vocation that God chose for me. That is a vocation: God calls us. How do we respond?

My vocation story can only be understood in the Eucharist, which has been a theme throughout my life. As a teenager I was told by a holy priest that whatever my vocation might be, if I remained faithful to the Eucharist, then I would remain faithful to my vocation. It was at that point that I started going to daily Mass before classes and prayed in adoration of the Holy Eucharist after school when I could. And it was in an adoration chapel the I first felt the call to be a priest.

Like so many young men, I had my own plans. I had a girlfriend and I had been accepted to college. The feeling of being called to the priesthood was confusing to me because it did not fit with my plans. Also, I am a decisive person: I am either all in, or I am out. To that end, I chose to accompany a religious community doing missionary work in Russia for a summer. I wanted to be away from all distractions to hear God’s call. In a form of blackmail, I told God that I knew what I wanted, but if He had another plan for me, then it was up to Him to tell me before it was too late.

When I went to Russia, it was with the intent of purifying myself of all my selfish thoughts and wishes to be able to accept His will. Living in the most basic conditions of a crummy village, I spent hours a day in prayer and intense fasting. The detachment from the world and my friends helped me to be open to God and His will. I ultimately decided I would ask God for a final answer on the Feast of the Assumption. On that day, after I received communion (again that Eucharistic theme in my life), I knelt down and asked God again, “What do you…?” Before I even finished formulating the thought, I already knew exactly what God wanted: I should be a priest in the Work of Jesus the High Priest.

Now, 29 years later, I am truly happy. I can tell you honestly that I have never doubted my vocation for a second. True to the words of that priest, my commitment and self-giving in my vocation, as well as my personal joy and fulfillment, has waxed and waned in correlation with my Eucharistic devotion. I recommend the same devotion for everyone discerning their own vocation. Seek Him if you want to find who you are to be.

Father Francesco DePuydt, O.J.S.S., Pastor of St. Henry Parish, Gresham, OR
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