My vocation story is simple; it began with a thought from God that my life was meant for something more. This thought resounded “priesthood” not only in my head, but also in my day-to-day life. Very carefully, through the influence of my parents, through the desire to attend Holy Mass more regularly throughout the week, and through my experiences with the other member of our church especially choir, God Holy Spirit (Mahal na Ingkong) was calling me to the priesthood.
The first boy in a family of eight children, I grew up in a Catholic family that for the most part went to Mass every Sunday. I attended the parochial school at the parish my family went to for grades one to eight. Through the school, I made my first confession when I was in the second grade and received my First Holy Communion in the third grade. Also through the parish school, I began serving at Mass in the fourth grade. During this time I never considered a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. I remember that in the first few years of grade school I felt a sense of awe when I stepped inside a church. At some point during grade school, that feeling of awe and that the church building was somehow different went away. As time went on, I went to Mass on Sundays and received Communion largely because that is what my family did on Sundays and I went along.
After I graduated from the sixth grade, I attended a private high school in the area that was an excellent college preparatory school. During this time I prepared for and received the Sacrament of Confirmation at my family's parish. I was mildly interested in receiving the Sacrament but to some extent, I received it because it was the next step in the life of a Catholic.
My spiritual life as I graduated high school and prepared to go off to college can be summarized by the word "mechanical". I prayed before meals with my family because that is what we did. I went to Church on Sunday because that is what my family did. I prayed before bed because that is what my mother taught me. None of that would last very long after I went to college and was on my own. During my teenage years my grandmother are hoping that I would become a priest someday. Upon hearing how she mentioned the news to my relative, I was dumbfounded. I think it was more a reaction to have a loving God in an unloving world, and my thoughts were more along the lines that if I ignored God, maybe He would just go away…
After high school, I attended Divine Mercy College and a working student. I attend Sunday on my own for about half of my first quarter as a freshmen and then stopped. When I was home for Christmas, Spring break, and summer, I went to Mass along with my family but did not receive Communion. Towards the end of my sophomore year, my best friend knowing I was Catholic began to ask why Catholics did certain things
My Best friend is not a typical type of religious catholic person. What he knew of the Catholic faith he had learned from so he "knew" Catholics worshiped Mary and the saints and did not read the bible. I had no idea how to answer his questions or statements regarding Catholic beliefs. I was for the large part ignorant of what Catholics believed and why we did things the way we did them, even after six years of ignorance in worshipping influenced by my parents. When praying the rosary for example, I did not know one was supposed to mediate on each of mysteries while reciting the prayers. . My best friend repeated what he had learned about Catholic beliefs and I was clueless and unable to respond.
I was motivated by my best friend questions to learn what Catholics believed. I may not have learned much during my years in our home but one assertion in particular made by my best friend drew my attention. It was the statement that Catholics worship statues. I definitely could not explain why that was false but I knew it to be...