Marriage, Priesthood, It’s all the Same.

This past weekend I had the joy of seeing one of my closest friends from high school ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic church.  It’s not the first ordination I’ve been to, I’ve known a lot of seminarians discerning the priesthood, but he’s the first guy I knew before this plan was even known.  Dan and I met and became friends back in 7th grade and the one thing we have shared over the last 17 years is our faith.  It was such a blessing and honor to be a part of his journey and to know that our friendship has grown and will continue to grow is a blessing.  And now that Dan starts the next chapter, I’ve come to the realization that it all matters.
During Dan’s many speeches and messages he shared how formative in his journey everyone was.  Friends, family, mentors, teachers, neighbors, etc. were all formative in deciding where he was going to go.  And he couldn’t be more right, because we are all shaped by our relationships and environments.  As youth ministers we can shape the future ministers, pastors, clergy of our churches in a negative or a positive way, but one of the most direct ways we need to make an impact is by talking to our students about a career or vocation in the religious life.  For Catholics it might be difficult because for many of us youth ministers are married, but understanding the commitment to any vocation is the same because God is the focus.  I’m not saying marriage and clergy is the same, but as long as God is the center of our attention, He will call us to the right vocation.
So while we need to talk to our students about a career in ministry or a vocation to the priesthood, we need to make sure that we guide them with God at the forefront.  Because we didn’t create our plan, He did, but we can shape it.