Monday, June 25, 2007

A new priest in the diocese of Rockville Centre

This is Father Joseph Fitzgerald. He was ordained on June 9th in my diocese. He's considered a 'late vocation' which means he led a full life before answering the call to priesthood. He spoke at the Proud 2B Catholic Fest I attended, and here is his story.
Joe was raised on Long Island and was a handball player on the US team in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. This led to a career touring the world as a champion handball player. He lived in Atlanta, and was enjoying the fruits of his fame, he was even going to be appearing on MTV on a show based upon his life, when he felt called back to Long Island, to work in a parish as a Youth Minister. On a vocations retreat, he brought his youth group to at Immaculate Conception Seminary, he was asked by a priest, "Joe, you've dated half the girls on Long Island, and in Atlanta, have you ever considered dating the Catholic priesthood?" "What a strange question", Joe thought, but soon the grace of God was at work, and now Father Joe says he's never been happier!
It's important to tell these types of stories to our children, so they can see that a vocations to the priesthood is important, exciting, challenging, and a call from God. So a priest isn't a sad person thinking of what he's sacrificed, but a fulfilled man grateful for the gift of his vocation.


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Anonymous said...

Wonderful post!

Ebeth said...

Phenominal story! Leticia, we need to hear more stories about these dashing young men turning to God and the Church for fulfillment!

Thanks for sharing......
Climbing for the seminary to be filled with loving, happy men!

Anonymous said...

I love this story! Thank you for sharing it with us!
I have italian cousins in Rockville Center too! I'll have to ask them about him!

Anonymous said...

What an interesting and positive way to suggest to someone that he might have a vocation to the priesthood. Thanks for sharing.

Melanie Bettinelli said...

A very inspiring story. Thanks for sharing.

My brother-in-law, Peter Campbell, is the founder and organizer of Proud 2B Catholic. It started with an event for our parish youth group and a few other local groups with a Eucharistic procession, mass, adoration, and a concert on the Salem Common and it's really grown in the past couple of years. I love hearing stories from people who've attended his events.