January 7, 2015

From the Boardroom to the Bishop's Office

Why would any man change from corporate businessman to seminarian studying for the priesthood? In 2007, I was in charge of a multi-million dollar business division at IBM. I had everything that the world and society told me defined success and would bring happiness: an excellent job, a promising career, a beautiful girlfriend, and a nice place to call home. Life was good. I thought I had it all. Everyone told me I was successful. But something was missing – I was empty inside. Surely there had to be more to life than this?

I heard God’s call to the priesthood at a young age. Yet in high school guidance counsellors and teachers encouraged everyone to go to university or college, so I just did what everyone else did. I kept pushing away the idea of becoming a priest because I did not want to seem different, but the truth is I was different. We are all unique and we should not be afraid of being different – it’s what makes us special.

What I call the “checklist in life” as determined by today’s society was getting done at a rapid pace. Yet with each checkmark, the Holy Spirit was leading me elsewhere. I began to have this desire to serve God instead of a company. I wanted to save souls for Christ rather than to save expense dollars for a corporation. I wanted to promote life and love, rather than capitalism and new business opportunities. People began to tell me at Mass or in Confession that I would be a good priest.

I developed an overwhelming gratitude for God’s generosity in my life. I began to understand more profoundly that Jesus died on the cross for MY sins! I began to pray more often; even several times throughout the day. I started to attend weekday Mass as often as possible. What was happening? I asked my pastor if he would help navigate this transformation going on in my heart.

I began to read the Bible during coffee breaks at work and in spare time at home. The Word of God began to jump off the pages and penetrate deep inside my heart like never before. God’s love started to become real, something tangible, and not just something that I heard other people talking about.

I attended WYD that summer. The experience was overwhelming. There I saw firsthand how the Catholic Church truly is universal and guided by the Holy Spirit. Meeting good Catholic friends through the experience helped me grow in the faith and they provided a supportive environment to live the Christian values. As I tried to return to the regular life in the months that followed, Jesus’ invitation to follow Him as a priest became something I could no longer push aside or ignore. “I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’” Each morning I reply, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)