July 5, 2013

Serra Club vocations essay

Priests follow God’s call and shine their light on others

(Editor’s note: Following is the second in a series featuring the winners of the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2013 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

By Jonathon Anderson (Special to The Criterion)

Jonathon AndersonMatthew 14:28 reads, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Mt 14:28).

As we can interpret from this passage, we must have faith in our Lord to be unafraid to walk on the path to God. He is our ultimate destination.

Even if we are blinded by the evil in our world, seeking out God’s light is imperative. Catholic priests, deacons, or holy men and women are the perfect examples of fulfilling this scripture verse from Matthew.

These people whom we call the leaders of the Church are simply those with the strength to hear and follow God’s call and help others do the same. All of us are one Body in Christ, and so we must have those bold people who can unite us under such a title. These religious men and women are persistent in building up the faith of individuals, and moreover, in seeking to welcome new members to the faith. Our Church leaders are true role models.

I have come to know many of these holy people throughout the course of my life. Yet, there have been a few that have been prominent to me.

The first one I would like to address is Father Sean Danda, a former associate pastor of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis. He truly strove to bring the glory of God to everybody. Father Danda preached at almost every school Mass, in his own touching ways.

I remember how he could always relate to children in a way that moved us. The connection that he seemed to draw between God and us was so clear. It was almost as if we could see right through him into the eyes of Jesus.

Father Danda also really seemed like a “father.” He always came to sporting events and practices. His presence brought a comforting confidence to the young competitors. Whether in school, at Mass, or at sporting events, Father Danda rekindled the faith of many adults and children.

Father Jerry Byrd, our new associate pastor, has also affected the lives of many people in the Church and beyond. He brings faith and light to the lives of many Christians through his lively preaching. I find him very personable because he seems so much like a “regular person.”

I can talk to him as if he was a friend. He has a great sense of humor, which adds to the effect of relating to him. He preaches with such pride and energy because he was raised in a Baptist family. I have never gotten more out of a homily than I do from his.

I have seen people directly affected by holy men and women. My mom converted to Catholicism because of a specific priest who touched her.

Bringing faith to those in the dark or reviving parishioners who have lost God in their lives can be a difficult task. For this reason, God has made special people with the talents to do so, and we are grateful to those who are willing soldiers for God’s cause.

(Jonathon and his parents, Dennis and Sally Anderson, are members of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis. He completed the eighth grade at St. Barnabas School last spring, and is the eighth-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2013 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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