A hunting we will go

Tomorrow I will be driving the Bishop out to the annual youth hunt. None of the adults will be hunting but we go out as the youth do. Interspersed with the actuall hunting are relational evangelization as well as vocational talks.

We have been doing very well with vocational numbers in our diocese but we are about to kick it up to a whole new level. I just talked to two young guys (8th and 10th grade) who are pretty serious. I also spoke with another older guy today and one last week. I think the biggest mistake people make is they are afraid to ask.

Although most young men might be skittish about a vocation I think there are very few who wouldn’t feel flattered by somone telling them they think he would make a good priest. Enough people saying that to someone can usually get them thinking.

I am looking forward to becoming more “outgoing” or “aggressive” in our pursuit. Priesthood is a great life. If a man has a call from God to be a priest then we need to eliminate the misconceptions people thinking they couldn’t be happy doing it. The lies our society tells us..

I just sat down with an older, more experienced priest friend last tuesday and he asked me how it was going. I told him it was tough and long hours but at the end of the day you are ready to get back up and do it again. He smiled and simply said “It’s a great life ain’t it.”

It truly is a great life. If anyone thinks they might be called I would simply echo the Gospel and JPII. Be not afraid.

Seminary isn’t a final committment. It isn’t a place you go when you have decided to become a priest. It is a place you go to discern. You discern and the Church discerns and if God is willing you still get to choose.

You have nothing to lose by giving God a chance. I sure am glad I did.

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20 Responses to “A hunting we will go”

  1. Josh Says:

    Fr. Todd,

    I am, quite simply, elated to hear that you are taking this approach to vocations. You are absolutely right in that we are afraid to ask about the priesthood (even I at 22 was a bit afraid to ask a priest questions. I have no idea why, but it does exist), and was overjoyed when my pastor and friend mentioned that he sensed a strong call to the priesthood in me, when I had been considering it for 6 months. I am still discerning my vocational call, but at least I have taken the issue before myself and God because of a few great members of the clergy who have spurred me on.

    So keep hitting it hard. Your efforts will benefit us all.

  2. A Catholic Says:

    You wrote: “Priesthood is a great life.”

    Yeah. I know a priest (and I’m not exaggerating here) who pulls in 9,000 in salary per month, lives in a luxury high-rise condo worth over 180,000 dollars that overlooks a river valley, drives a beautiful new vehicle, and prefers tailor-made suits. His meals are all prepared for him, he loves the finest scotch, and on his vacation he travels the European opera scene. That’s a great life, alright. He’s cardinal material for sure.

    Signed,
    A Catholic

  3. Fr. James Says:

    Dear “A Catholic”, Please don’t be bitter. This is the truth: I am a priest and am thousands of dollars in debt. I have only 3 holy cards for pictures in my room, have no car, own no computer, wear only clerical clothes, usually have no cook, own no tailored clothes, do not drink and have never been on the European opera scene. I am the farthest thing from perfect. Please, let us pray for that priest. May God have pity on us. Fr. James

  4. Angela Says:

    Fr. Todd,
    Yes! THis is what we NEED! But however, Fr. Todd, hunting? Should young people be encouraged to do this? Alos, there is frequently drinking on hunting trips. They come home with their dead animals and they are drunk. I have had so many heartbroken nights, please no more!
    On happier note, Fr. TOdd you are becoming a holy priest! I will pray for you!

  5. Chuck Says:

    Dear Angela, I share your concern about drinking on hunting trips. It sounds as though you have endured much pain when your loved ones return intoxicated after these hunting excursions. If I understand Father Todd’s latest post, I believe that he and his Bishop will go hunting with boys and young men in order to encourage them along the way to consider the Holy Priesthood. I am sure that with the Bishop and Father Todd present, there will be no drunkenness. Yet, Angela, I know you are one of Father Todd’s excellent and faithful corrispondents and I sincerely acknowledge your suffering. May Jesus, Mary, Joseph and especially today Saint Francis be very good to you and your family.

  6. Bob C. Says:

    Fr. Todd, did you know that you can post an article at http://www.catholic.org? I think that you could write an excellent one on vocations and post it there. I know you’re busy in parish work. But such an effort on your part would probably reach more persons that you have in your parish. And in your article, you could mention the Sioux Falls Diocese. What do you think?

  7. Frank Macauley Says:

    Father Reitmeyer, please pray for two persons who just died:
    +Brian Florence (I believe, 38 years)
    +Robert Kardashian (I think, 59 years)

    V. Requiescant in pace.
    R. Amen.
    V. May they rest in peace.
    R. Amen.

    I hope that your readers will join me in remembering these men in their Masses, Holy Communions, Holy Hours, Holy Rosaries, Scripture Readings, Stations of the Cross, etc.

  8. Mark Zanghetti Says:

    I am ejoying frequent trips to read what you post and enjoy the fact they are thought provoking. I wish your blog had been around twenty years ago, my life might have been different. Thanks again for saying yes to the call to be a priest.

  9. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    Actually Michael I think your right. We don’t really take that approach here. Bishop Carlson says that you must discern your true vocation. If your thinking of the preisthood great but most important you need to pray. If you go to the seminary and decide its not for you that is fine as long as your following God’s will. He doesn’t see it as a loss when a seminarian leaves as long as it was down with prayer and discernment. That means that the process is working. Plus the formation can’t be bad for whatever God is calling them to.

  10. Michael Roesch Says:

    I think a large part of the fear among young people regarding vocations is that if they let their discernment known the priest will instantly latch onto them and perhaps pressure them into seminaries, since there are so few seminarians. I’m sure this is an unwarranted fear, but I think it does exist.

  11. bosun3rd Says:

    Father,

    I am glad to hear that you are working to encourage vocations with real effort. I am tired of hearing my parish priests make a couple of vague comments about the need for vocations and then expect results to just happen.

    I often think that a bunch of Marine Recruiters stationed at each diocese would straighten out this vocations shortage mess pronto–after all, they have the experience when it comes to recruiting men to a life of hard work and little financial reward.

    MRL

  12. Vincent Says:

    Hunting? Isn’t fishing more appropriate? 😉

  13. Patrick Rothwell Says:

    “A Catholic”

    You say that a certain priest makes $9000 a month and has a relatively affluent life. However, diocesan priests don’t take a vow of poverty, though few are able to land that kind of dough. You don’t explain what the priest does to make that kind of salary. Perhaps his job is both fitting for a priest and is of the kind that would bring down such a salary. Perhaps the priest is a professor of law or medicine at a major Catholic university and writes books and spends his weekends and part of his weekdays engaging in pastoral care while juggling his other duties. I know a priest like this.

    $9000 a month is a lot of money and I sure wish I had that kind of salary, but I certainly don’t begrudge the fact that he earns that, unless it is truly scandalous or outrageous.

  14. A Catholic Says:

    Patrick Rothwell wrote:

    “Perhaps his job is both fitting for a priest and is of the kind that would bring down such a salary. Perhaps the priest is a professor of law or medicine at a major Catholic university and writes books and spends his weekends and part of his weekdays engaging in pastoral care while juggling his other duties. I know a priest like this.”

    I am very sorry to tell you that THIS particular priest did take a vow of poverty. The justification for the salary, I believe, is something like . . . well, it goes into the order’s bank account and all the priests share it. Unfortunately, it is shared by only THREE priests in that local area, and together they make about 15,000 per month.

    I’m curious about YOUR comment — that the priest’s job justifies the salary. I’m going to say something very radical to you: People who take vows of poverty shouldn’t make salaries. I don’t care if they’re law professors or janitors. The order can look after them. A stipend could be paid as a living allowance to the order — no more.

    Being a priest is sacred. It is a stewardship. $9,000 per month is a real injustice. Living in a luxury high-rise condominium is wrong. THIS priest should be living in community with his confreres . . . if he hadn’t insisted that they all move out from the house they were living in.

    Can I tell you something ELSE about this priest? He cancelled my job contract — and told my boss he’d hire anyone but me. Because I was a bad employee (you’re tempted to think)? On the contrary, actually, I was an “award-winning” employee.

    Then when I approached him in a pastoral way, he spread my concerns around the workplace in a letter to my, which he copied to a bunch of other employees.

    When I told him that my family would be put into jeopardy by his refusal to keep me on staff, he told me that he didn’t see any link between my not having a job and harm to my family. Then he hired someone else into my job.

    I think the holy orders bounced off that priest when he was ordained. When I went to see the local bishop about this priest, he simply said that he was sure Fr. So and So had done everything properly. Here’s a quotation from the LETTER (he could have at least phoned me or met with me, don’t you think?): “I spoke to him of the matters you had raised and of your concerns. He explained the situation as he saw it and how, in his opinion, the proper procedures had been followed.”

    Well, aren’t we all glad they followed proper procedures when they hurt me so badly? And about this priest engaging in “pastoral care on the weekends,” as you say? Yeah, I’m sure that makes up for everything.

    I always had these beautiful illusions about priests, but they’re all gone now. The church is a business — or maybe a social club — a big whited sepulchre — and I don’t think that I really belong in it anymore.

    (Maybe not) A Catholic (Anymore)

  15. Suburbanbanshee Says:

    Obviously, you’ve got a bad situation going here, and obviously it’s bad that you’re not getting a better response to your concerns.

    But _leave the Church_ over this? I mean, would you quit your job because one of the higher-ups is getting paid too much and another won’t listen? Would you leave a club? Or would you stay in there and try a few more things, maybe complain a lot, but not give up and go? Of course you’d stay and fight!

    So why would you even consider giving up over this?

    And hey, this is nothing to the problems the average saint has to confront from his/her pastors, co-workers and fellow parishioners…. 🙂 Seriously, just being disgusted about _one_ person’s behavior shouldn’t make you feel separated from your faith like this. Obviously you have a great love of the Church and of the specialness of the priesthood, or you wouldn’t be hurting like this. So why let the actions of a few take that away?

    In the words of John Paul Jones, you should be saying, “I have not yet begun to fight!”

    Banshee

  16. (Maybe not) A Catholic (Any More) Says:

    Jesus was just one person and look at the difference he made. It’s not good enough any more to say “don’t leave the church because of the behavior of just one person” especially when that person is a priest — not to mention the Bishop that is supporting him. The problem _is_ the church letting these kinds of men get away with this kind of behavior. The church _formed_ them in the seminary and the church knows them intimately — knows their behavior and personalities.

    God made all of us — every person. We are all part of the body of Christ.

    Not just Catholics.

    So if this is what the church says is ok, then somebody should start yelling and ripping up stuff in the temple. As for me, I’m starting not to care anymore.

    They can have the church. I’ll stick with Jesus.

    (Maybe not) A Catholic (Any More)

  17. Denise Says:

    Dear Catholic,
    Cling to Jesus, but please, do not abandon yur brothers and sisters. Think of the tremendous gift of the Eucharist! I left the Church in bitterness 30 years ago, and only came back three years ago. Now all my sorrow is over the gift that I squandered so foolishly. This priest is only one man, though being men, all priests are subject to the struggles and difficulties of human nature. The Church knows him? God knows him. Alas, that he has sinned and fallen short. Who has not? This is where the rubber hits the road–in the forgiving of our enemy. I tell you that you need to go on your knees to God in honest anger. Pour out your heart. Then ask for the grace to hear His will and the grace to carry it out. Be still and listen. Don’t “go” anywhere–that is no solution. The solution is for your to carry the cross crafted for you by the One who knows you. You can turn this terrible event into a praise of the glory of God and a witness of His grace in the face of injustice, if you will.
    God provides, not us; and certainly the “$9,000 a month priest” is not your Providence.
    Trust the Friend who loves you to the point of madness. Visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Be still before Him. Don’t leave Him.
    +JMJT+
    Peace and all good to you.

  18. Angela Says:

    Dear Former Catholic,
    Some of us come here to get a break from people’s complaining complaining complaining about the Church. And Fr. Todd gives us this nice place to come. It is hard for some of us, ok? We don’t need you coming in here with your bitterness and carrying on and so forth, ok? Please, go away. This is the one beautiful thing in my life.

  19. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    Ummm.. Please stay. Sorry Angela. I don’t mind people being angry.

    I think A Catholic has had a rough go of it. I agree that there are Judas’s in the preisthood. St. John Chrysostom said the road to hell is paved with the skulls of priests and Bishops.

    A Catholic, if your in the USA I would be happy to call you and talk with you a bit. It would be a lot easier to hear your story than read it. If your willing email me at toddreit@juno.com and perhaps we can chat.

    I am sorry you have seen bad examples of preisthood. I wish you could meet some of the people I know. Good and Holy Men who have given their lives in the service of Christ and others.

    I was installed as an acolyte by Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. He wrote the book Testimony of Hope. I encourage you to read it. When you looked in this man’s eyes it was absolutely unbelievable.

    I hope you take me up on my offer.

  20. (MN) AC (AM) Says:

    Angela wrote:
    “Dear Former Catholic,
    Some of us come here to get a break from people’s complaining complaining complaining about the Church. And Fr. Todd gives us this nice place to come. It is hard for some of us, ok? We don’t need you coming in here with your bitterness and carrying on and so forth, ok? Please, go away. This is the one beautiful thing in my life.”

    Wow . . . you’re as quick to boot me out as my own bishop is : )

    “ex-blog-munication” (how very Catholic)

    Sorry if my words hurt you. I’m not comfortable ignoring injustices in the church — not to me and not to anyone else — not even to you, Angela. I hope you never experience any.

    Fr. Todd is right. I have had — and continue to have — a very rough go. One of the other responders to this thread is right too — I have had a deep love of the church. I have met very good priests in my time — priests that helped me to see beauty in the church and Christ in others. Thank you for the reference to St. John Chrysostom (one of my favorites).

    We cannot ignore corruption in the church. People are educated and free to communicate with each other all over the world — they think about lots of things, not just local village issues like in feudal times. And they’re hurting. So they will go to places where they feel accepted and loved — have you seen how large some of the pentecostal congregations are? You can’t ask people who are hurting to “just hang in there.” The church hierarchy needs to ask WWJD and stop being so political. That is why I started posting on this thread — because if we want young men to follow a vocation, we need to be careful what we train them to do and how we allow them to behave. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    I won’t regale you with any more horror stories, but at least you’ve been given something to think about.

    Thanks Fr. Todd for your offer of support. I wish my bishop had been so kind.

    (MN)AC(AM)

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