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The Calling, the Cost, the Joy

and blaming herself. One desperate day, driving through some country roads at very high speeds, she decided to try to find me. I had been transferred to our youth retreat house. Luckily, after she checked with the front office, I appeared and was able to sit and talk with her. She said it took no more than five minutes, but that conversation changed her life. She left there feeling God’s presence and peace.

That young woman came back to thank me. She said she thought that priests too frequently are not told how they have helped another in need. I honestly don’t remember the conversa- tion that she said changed her life.

Five years ago a couple I married called with great news. I knew that they had wanted children and that, for years, they were unable to conceive. This time the news was different: They were going to have a baby. They had heard from an adoption agency, and they were flying to China to meet their new little girl. They would be there two weeks but wanted to arrange for her bap- tism when they returned. “Would you be willing to baptize our baby?” the husband asked. “Of course,” I replied. “I would be honored.” I then asked how his parents must feel, since he was an only child and this would be their first grandchild. He said, “Oh, we haven’t told them yet. We wanted to tell you first!” I was speechless. One of the most poignant and important moments of life, and they wanted me to be part of it first.

That is why I am still a priest. I am able to walk into the most profound moments in people’s lives and make a difference. God confirms his call to me every day by using me to bring his bless- ings and grace to others in so many ways. Most of the time, I’m not even aware that he is using me, because it is God giving the


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