Thursday, February 2, 2012

From the Nosebleeds to Priesthood

I have been going to the March for Life these last 7 years or so. My first trip was with the university, Ave Maria University, that I graduated from. Let me tell you that by the end of the quick trip from Florida to DC and back, I was exhausted!
Yes, that is me...on the floor...in the airport
But during our quick little pilgrimage, we ended up going to the Verizon Center where the youth rally was going on. If you have never gone, I would recommend one day going. There are THOUSANDS of young people in the arena all going to Mass! Anyways, I was in the nosebleed section my first year.
I was amazed to see so many religious brothers and sisters, and seminarians! And then to see all these deacons, priests, and bishops coming in during the procession....wow...I mean...WOW! I remember crying at seeing all these men giving their lives over to the Lord and hoping one day to join them in the trenches! The experience was profound and quite moving.

And then two years later, I was in the seminary. Little did I know we would be going to the youth rally. I was excited! That year we sat on the floor of the arena. I remember looking up and thinking, "I was up there before...now...someone is up there looking down at me...at us..." For three years I attended Mass as an unordained seminarian and thought of some young man up there looking down at us....just like I had done in the past...

I recall that all those years as a college guy and seminarian I would look over at the part of the arena where the priests were giving their time to reconcile the sons and daughters of God back to Himself in Confession. Hundreds if not thousands of people going to Confession...and every priest being another Christ to draw them back to God...

As an ordained deacon, I was then able to come in during the procession with my other ordained classmates. I remember feeling so excited because it was the procession that struck me when I first attended this rally. It was the long line of men who had given their lives over to God that really made and impression on my heart to continue answering the call of God and join the ranks of His ordained men. And so I thought and prayed in my heart, "Here am I Lord! Use me in this line to glorify you and to encourage any young man out there!"

And this year...this year....I came in through the usual entrance and saw some friends I had not seen since my last few days in the seminary...
I vested myself...
I made my way up to the level where I could be the instrument of Reconciliation for the sons and daughters of God...
I processed in as a priest with my brother priests to concelebrate at Mass...
...and... 
I looked up to where I had once looked down....and I thought to myself and prayed, "One day my, brother...one day. Follow the call and one day you will join us in the trenches...God be with you..."

2 comments:

  1. Chris, this is so moving! I honestly and seriously teared up. I thank you so much for your vocation and I do pray that young men follow in your footsteps in answering God's call. Thank you and we hope you are doing well! God bless you!
    -Mayra

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  2. ACK you were THERE and I didn't SEE you!!!!!!!!!! :( Lol I was on the floor level with my mom and brother (his first time going to the March in DC and thus also the Verizon Center -- he just turned 13 and he LOVED IT! :D) it was awesome! The "nose-bleed" section is great too though - I remember that from Ave the procession looked unbelievable from up there! :)
    God bless Fr. Chris!

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