Bishop Malooly and Father Norman P. Carroll, director of the Office of Priestly and Religious Vocations and pastor of St. Elizabeth Church, met with the five current seminarians for the Diocese of Wilmington at St. E’s rectory July 21 for dinner.
James Gebhart, from St. Catherine of Siena Parish, is new to the seminary this year; Michael Preston is returning after previous studies; Richard Jasper, already a transitional deacon, will complete his classes in the spring; and Curt Kursinsky and Brennan Ferris complete Wilmington’s five students at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.
There’s room at the seminary for plenty more. Pope Francis and Bishop Malooly both recommend serving the people of God as the job of a lifetime.
There are lots of inspiring examples of priesthood throughout Wilmington to prompt men to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit echoing Christ’s call to “follow me.”
This diocese is gifted with priests who continue to minister — pastors, associates and senior priests — well beyond traditional retirement years because they have never ceased being devoted to their calling and the spiritual needs of the people.
An international example of a priest who didn’t consider retiring was Father Jacques Hamel, 85, who was killed by terrorists at his morning Mass in a quiet Normandy parish five days after Wilmington’s sems met with the bishop.
The murder was a shocking reminder of Jesus’ words that “we should take up our cross and follow” him. Christ called all to follow him, but no one answers his invitation more visibly than priests and religious women and men who dedicate their lives to revealing God’s love and mercy in the world.
Pope Francis said in Krakow last week that priests and religious “should be living writers of the Gospel.”
Thanks be to God that the diocese has five men who are willing to answer the call to serve and thanks to all the priests and religious who already do.