July 14, 2017

Serra Club vocations essay

Priest offers example of what Christ’s disciple should be

By Abby Hanlon (Special to The Criterion)

Abby HanlonBeing a disciple means accepting and following the teachings of a teacher, and in this case that teacher is Jesus.

Jesus had 12 disciples who followed him and listened to his teachings to spread to the rest of the world—although there are not just 12 disciples of Christ, because all who believe in him and spread his word are disciples.

I have learned to be a disciple of Christ through the example of those living in the ministry. One of those who has shown me to be a disciple of Christ is the priest at my church, Conventual Franciscan Father Joseph West.

Father Joe is a disciple of Christ because he spreads the word which he has learned to all the children at school and to all in the parish. He embraces the faith and walks in the light of Christ to which he has devoted himself. He follows his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

He serves as a great example of what a disciple of Christ should be. He exemplifies all of the qualities that a disciple of Christ should have.

Father Joe had great things going for him, working a stable job and being able to provide for his own needs. Soon, he realized that his job was something that he would not want to do for the rest of his life. He felt called to a life in Christ and to spreading his word. He wanted to help others to become disciples of Christ and to know the teachings of Jesus.

Father Joe has taught me and many others that to be a disciple of Christ, you need to put Christ first. You then need to put others second, and then put yourself last. He has taught me to put my faith and trust in God and to love him before anyone else.

I have learned that what you have is not important and that you should forsake a lot of what you own. I have learned to deny myself rather than be self-obsessed, and to bear my cross. I have learned to accept my sins and do penance. He has also taught me to spread the word of God to others as he has done with me, and taught me to pray and read the Scriptures.

I am grateful to have Father Joe as my role model in faith. He has taught me to be a disciple of Christ. He has guided me through my religious journey and helped me to know and follow Jesus. He has shown me the way of Christ by supporting me through my first Communion and reconciliation.

He has helped me to keep my faith and trust in God when I have doubts. I have learned to accept the teachings of Jesus Christ, just as he has, and have taught others to as well.

(Abby and her mother, Amy Youell, are members of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Clarksville. She completed the eighth grade at St. Anthony of Padua School in Clarksville last spring, and is the eighth-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2017 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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