I am a very blessed person. It has been such an incredible privilege for me to serve the Lord as a Catholic priest for the past 24 years.
When I was in 8th grade I traveled over to Tacoma with my mom and brother to sing at a wedding for one of my mom’s cousins. During the reception, I stepped outside on the balcony to get a breath of fresh air. As I looked over Commencement Bay, the Lord spoke a word to me that took me by surprise. I heard Him say clearly, “Someday you will live over here and serve me as a priest.” That made me very happy but it seemed like a far off dream at the time; I was only in 8th grade.
As the years went on the Lord fulfilled that promise through some pretty incredible experiences of His love and mercy. You can read my personal testimony which spells it out in greater detail by clicking here.
I have had the privilege of meeting some remarkable men and women over the years in moments of great joy and moments of great sorrow and challenge. Time and time again I am reminded of Sirach 2:10; “Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?” No, I’ve never been disappointed. God always provides in good times and in bad and sometimes His providence comes in the most surprising ways and through the most unexpected people.
I frequently encounter people (even fellow Catholics) who think living a celibate lifestyle must be incredibly challenging and lonely. In response to this perception, I believe anyone who sets their heart after embracing the call of being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ will have challenges. I certainly have my share of them. Sometimes the pace of life and all the needs and demands of people leave me feeling a bit overwhelmed, but never lonely or unfulfilled. My spiritual director in the seminary once told me that the best way to give credence to the value of celibacy wasn’t through persuasive arguments but through one’s lifestyle. If people can see that celibacy helps free you to be present and generous to the people you serve then they will see the value of it. I try and remember this important advice and share with others that we are all supposed to witness to the joy of saying “yes” to God’s plan of new life in Christ and provide a positive witness to others that will attract them to ask what is the reason for our hope? (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).
One thing that has helped keep me afloat through challenging times was receiving what is often called “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” This amazing grace came during a Life in the Spirit Seminar in college. Experiencing my own personal Pentecost has been the source of great joy and I don’t honestly think I would be here today if it wasn’t for that grace. It’s that important. I have had the privilege over the years of conducting numerous Life in the Spirit Seminars and praying with people for a release of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The results are always life-changing!
You can find more information about Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the Western Washington Catholic Charismatic Renewal website which is here.