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A new priest in the diocese of Rockville Centre

Posted Sep 12 2008 10:33am

This is Father Joseph Fitzgerald. He was ordained on June 9th in my diocese. He's considered a 'late vocation' which means he led a full life before answering the call to priesthood. He spoke at the Proud 2B Catholic Fest I attended, and here is his story.

Joe was raised on Long Island and was a handball player on the US team in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. This led to a career touring the world as a champion handball player. He lived in Atlanta, and was enjoying the fruits of his fame, he was even going to be appearing on MTV on a show based upon his life, when he felt called back to Long Island, to work in a parish as a Youth Minister. On a vocations retreat, he brought his youth group to at Immaculate Conception Seminary, he was asked by a priest, "Joe, you've dated half the girls on Long Island, and in Atlanta, have you ever considered dating the Catholic priesthood?" "What a strange question", Joe thought, but soon the grace of God was at work, and now Father Joe says he's never been happier!
It's important to tell these types of stories to our children, so they can see that a vocations to the priesthood is important, exciting, challenging, and a call from God. So a priest isn't a sad person thinking of what he's sacrificed, but a fulfilled man grateful for the gift of his vocation.
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