August 1, 2008

Serra Club vocations essay

Priest, religious “cast nets” every day at Cathedral High School

By Kelley Ford (Special to The Criterion)

Kelley FordAs a student at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, I have the rare privilege of being able to see “fishers of men” at school every day. We have a priest and several religious sisters who “cast their nets” every day, hoping to catch a few (or more!) students at a time.

Every morning, before classes begin, Franciscan Sister Dolores Jean Nellis literally “casts her nets” as she leads every student and adult in our school in prayer broad-“cast” over the public address system.

Her calm and gentle words encourage us to slow down, to feel God’s presence among us, and to listen to what he is telling us. Sister Dolores believes so strongly in the power of prayer that even we skeptical teenagers pause to contemplate her words. Through her, God continues to give us a beautiful and meaningful start to our day.

The other sisters in our school have their own daily broad-“cast” through their perpetual smiles, their genuine acts of kindness to all, their patience and their abundant belief in the goodness of all of us. Their actions hold us to a very high standard, but the sisters support us even when we fail to meet the standard.

Whether assisting the principal, teaching social studies or solving complex calculus problems, our religious sisters are gifts from God. For us, they are like his daily invitations to be like him and to follow him.

Our own Father William Munshower, as chaplain of our school, “casts his nets” from the pulpit as he encourages—even demands—us to sing at Mass. His joy in spreading God’s message and living as God expects is evident in every word that he speaks.

He “reels us in” as we walk by his open office door and as he mingles with us in the halls. Just the sound of his voice “casts” a spell-like quality through the crowd, and students stop to share a quick story or a laugh with him.

Our examples of God’s messengers at Cathedral are just a sample of the thousands of people called to be God’s fishermen. Deacons, priests, and religious brothers and sisters “cast their nets” every day and become “fishers of men.”

If we are lucky enough to “get caught” in one of their nets, we will be drawn closer to God and closer to the life that he chose for us. They also remind us that we, too, can “cast our own nets” and encourage people of all ages that they have the choice to embrace God and experience all of the joy of living in his Kingdom.

(Kelley Ford and his parents, Tom and Lisa Ford, are members of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis. Last spring, he completed the ninth grade at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis and is the ninth-grade division winner in the 2008 Indianapolis Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.)

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