July 11, 2014

Serra Club vocations essay

Priests, deacons and religious respond to God’s call of love

(Editor’s note: Following is the second in a series featuring the winners of the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2014 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

By Elizabeth Heile (Special to The Criterion)

Elizabeth HeileJesus’ call of love is different for everyone. It may come as a thought in the mind or a tug at the heart. Whatever it may be, we must listen and seek to do God’s will.

Discerning your vocation is a very important matter.

For many men, young and old, it is to become a priest. Each priest responds to his call of love differently. I have had the honor of meeting many of them. They each respond to God’s call of love differently.

Father Frank Eckstein, a retired priest, responds to his call of love with simplicity. He still continues to drive to St. Nicholas School twice a week, putting aside his plans, to celebrate Mass for us. In his homilies, he explains the word of God in such a conventional way that everyone understands it.

Father Pascal Nduka, our former pastor, came to the United States from Nigeria. He left his family to say “yes” to God. Father Pascal inspired me through his joy, showing me that to be a priest or a sister doesn’t mean that you have to always be serious. He included children in his homilies and made us feel special. He taught us about God in a way that made us want to learn. This was how Father Pascal responded to his calling of love.

“My precious angels.” This is what Sister Loretto Emenogu from the archdiocesan Mission Office calls us. A member of the Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy, Sister Loretto responded to her call of love by becoming a sister.

She raises money for poor children. Every year, she comes and helps with our Bible school. Kindhearted, she makes everyone around her feel loved. Sister Loretto humbly lets God lead her, always answering “yes” to her call of love.

Responding to God’s call of love is different for everyone. In Deacon Ralph Poyo’s case, it is preaching and mission work. Deacon Ralph visits St. Nicholas occasionally, holding missions, where he preaches about the word of God. By using great examples and humor, he makes it easy for everyone to learn.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is an inspiring person to me. She responded to God’s call of love with humbleness. She cared for the sick and the dying, treating everyone with the dignity they deserved. She listened to God’s call of love, letting God choose the path she was to walk.

Everyone has a calling. But it is up to us to choose to listen to it. Pope Francis said, “To become a priest or religious is not primarily our choice. It is our answer to a calling, a calling of love.”

We must listen to God’s calling, whether it is to be a priest, deacon, sister or lay person. Our one objective in life should be listening to God. He knows what’s best for us and won’t lead us down the wrong road. We must all listen to God’s calling, a calling of love.

(Elizabeth and her parents, Jeff and Lynn Heile, are members of St. Nicholas Parish in Ripley County. She completed the eighth grade at St. Nicholas School in Ripley County last spring, and is the eight-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2014 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)


Related: Read more vocations stories from our archives

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