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Catholic News Service (CNS) has begun a series of reflections by priests as the Year for Priests begins. As they are published, I'll link to them here.
Here's a snip from the first CNS installment:
... Originally from Houston, Texas, I grew up a cradle Catholic and am still blessed with a close family that has remained together through the ups and downs. I was the typical rebellious teenager, but always maintained a sense of responsibility — probably because I was too afraid of my father’s dissatisfaction . . . or guilt trip, depending on the episode. In 1993, I attended World Youth Day in Denver and saw the Catholic Church for the first time. That is to say, I saw the “big picture” — a church that was much more than my experience of Sunday Mass. World Youth Day was (and is) big enough for even my imagination, and so the seed of priesthood was planted. I entered the diocesan seminary very young, only to leave a year and a half later. After a few false starts, I finished college and began working in “the real world.” Success came quickly, but my soul paid the price. I spent many years away from God and anything associated with religion.
Failure would later follow, and, for a while, life was very, very hard. I was forced to dig deep within myself in order to move forward and it was then that I found God — waiting. The relationship with God I once cherished had suffered terribly because of my own actions and it would take almost two years to repair it. Of course, God was willing to take me back immediately, but I needed a lot more time to realize who I was and what my life was to be about.
(Read the complete story)-ConcordPastor