Friday, April 08, 2005

Riveting Account

Hugh Hewitt passes along an account of the events in Rome, which he introduces as follows: "Here is a long, and extraordinary e-mail from a priest in Rome, Father Peter Mitchell, forwarded to me from one of his friends."

Quite engaging, here's just one excerpt:
I was asked by a reporter yesterday to sum up what this event means for me personally. My response was, “My youth is over.” I grew up with John Paul II as the Pope, discerned my vocation by reading his writings, heard Christ calling me through him at Denver in 1993, followed him to Paris in 1997, to Rome for the Great Jubilee 2000, to Toronto in 2002, and I have lived with him for the last three years in Rome, often seeing him once a week at the Sunday Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square. For the rest of my life I will remember that, when I was young, John Paul the Great was the Pope. It would be impossible for me to exaggerate the influence he has had on my life and particularly on my priestly vocation. He was and is my hero. This is true for an entire generation of young clergy who accompanied his body into the basilica on Monday night.

Later in the post Hewitt includes a parishioner's description of the priest who wrote the account:

He is a priest from the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb. (i.e., Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz's diocese). He is outstanding. A really good guy. The year I led my first pilgrimage to Rome, he said our first Mass for us in Santa Maria in Trastevere, the oldest church named after Our Lady in the world. It was reverent, sacred, humble, and holy. And his homily was top notch. He is a holy man of God, and would that the world had more priests like him.

Incidentally, Hugh, Fr. Mitchell -- and Bishop Bruskewitz (who brought Scott Hahn into the Church, if you're familiar with him -- Hahn's sort of a rock star in the Catholic world of apologetics) -- are proof that there is no vocations crisis, per se.

When Bishop Bruskewitz excommunicated schismatics -- those on the right and the left -- he got nationwide attention. What this did was make young men think, "At last, a bishop who is orthodox!" And these men flocked to him and his seminary. These same men had either been rejected by their local vocations office for being too rigid (i.e., being against the sin of homosexuality, for the Pope, and against women priests) or didn't want to serve in a diocese where their orthodoxy would be constantly under assault.

So this little dinky diocese in the middle of nowhere has plenty of good seminarians and plenty of good, young, priests. One was just named bishop of Wichita, KS.

And this isn't limited to Lincoln. Denver (Chaput), Arlington, Fargo, Sioux Falls, and a few others, all have more seminarians than they know what to do with.

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter -- the Traditional Mass Order founded by John Paul II in 1988 -- has their seminary in Denton, NE, and they're bursting at the seams, too.

Vocations are out there, but when you're not called to anything different than what the world is already giving you, why give up having a wife and kids for something that's just a job? When people are called to sacrifice, when they're called to something higher than themselves, when they're called to holiness, they recognize their vocation and they respond.

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