Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Vocational Journey: Joseph Laracy

By Joseph R. Laracy, Transitional Deacon, Archdiocese of Newark

I recall being open to priesthood in 8th Grade. In high school, however, I invested myself in studies, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and a social life and let the idea of priesthood recede. However, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and later at MIT, my faith matured and I began to hear the Lord’s call once again.

At Illinois, I deepened my faith through the Newman Center and the courses it offered at the University. I returned to the practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and began to hear the voice of the Lord more clearly. After a strong experience of God’s call to the priesthood toward the end of my college years, I began a period of prayer and discernment. In the fall of 2007, I believed that it was time to enter the seminary and Archbishop John Myers accepted me for the Archdiocese of Newark. He assigned me to Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University for a two-year pre-theologate program focusing on ecclesiastical philosophy, Latin, and Biblical Greek. In December 2008, he asked me to pursue theological studies in Rome and so in 2009, I went to the Pontifical North American College (NAC) and enrolled in the first cycle theology program at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

My time at NAC has really helped me to grow spiritually. As I look forward to priestly ordination, my greatest desire is to manifest God’s love and mercy to the people entrusted to my pastoral care. I hope to make myself very available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. With my background in the natural sciences, I hope to continue writing on the harmony of our Christian faith with contemporary empirical science. I feel well prepared for diocesan priesthood both from my experience of seminary formation and my seminarian assignments in Catholic Charities, a nursing home, a hospital, a campus ministry program, and two parishes.

My vision for the priesthood has been shaped by the holy, faithful priests that have been a part of my life and the theology of priesthood expressed in the Letter to the Hebrews: “Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.” (Hebrews 5:1-4)

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