Monday, July 2, 2018

Mass Offered on July 1 2018 For Seminarians

A Mass was offered on July 1st for all seminarians that they will grow in holiness and lead us all in love. Every month we have a Mass offered for this intention. As our seminarians will be the future shepherds and our children are the future flock, it seemed a beautiful way for the children to help. 

We have been periodically featuring different seminarians at the beginning of the month. We invite them to share something of themselves - a beautiful sharing of faith and love of Our Lord. Today we will be featuring Sean Yates. 

Sean Yates

Hello, my name is Sean Yates and I am a seminarian studying for the Archdiocese of Hartford.  I am entering my second year of pre-theology at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  I am the middle child with an older brother and younger sister; I am also the proud uncle of two cool nephews.  I was born in Stamford, CT and raised in South Windsor, CT, where both my parents currently live.  I would love to share my vocation story (it can take a long time to tell my story, but I will try to keep it short).
I was raised in a Catholic family in a majority, if not Catholic, Christian town and attended Mass weekly at Saint Margaret Mary’s.  Growing up I was active in our youth group and other activities; Boy Scouts and almost every sport that was available.  Even though my non-Catholic activities were very demanding, we would also make Mass the priority.  I cannot remember my first draw to a priestly vocation but I do remember my first public admission of my priestly vocation.  In 1991, while studying for the Pope Pius XII Boy Scout religious award, the priest asked if any of us had any interest in becoming a priest and I said I did.  This acceptance of the vocation call was also the starter’s pistol for me running away from the call.  I still attended mass weekly throughout high school but when I went to college, The Citadel (a military school in Charleston, South Carolina), my mass attendance was not weekly anymore and I would attend mass as a way to get out of formation and not to visit with Jesus.  I was starting to fall away.  After finishing my college education, I returned home to Connecticut and began working on my career and trying to find a woman to start a family with.  While I continued to fall away from church.  I would still attend mass periodically but I was just there, I was checking off the box.  I don’t think the call ever left me and I know God uses many techniques to call His priests.  Sometimes they are gentle nudges and sometimes, for the more stubborn, He will hit you over the head with a sledge hammer.  My sledge hammer came on March 17, 2007, I had an event in my life that made me look at what I was doing.
At this point in my life, I had a good job, a bunch of friends, and a loving family but I was not happy: I felt empty.  I really looked into my life and searched for when I was happy and that was when I was active in church.  I stopped doing some of my activities and went back to church.  I quickly began saying my daily rosary.  I joined the Knights of Columbus, became an Usher/Greeter, started working at Bingo, and joined the Bible study.  I was becoming happy again.  In 2015’s fall Bible study, I was approached by a youth group leader and asked to replace him so he could retire.  I eventually said yes.  I became an active youth group leader and went to Steubenville NYC the following summer with them.
As I stated earlier the priestly call never left me as (at this point) I had been cyber discerning for three years.  I would look at vocation web sites and take on-line tests but did not talk to a vocation director yet.  Honestly, I was scared, I thought I would tell a vocation director that I was interested in a priestly vocation and next thing I knew I would be on a bus to seminary…but that is not how it works…Anyway, on our way to Steubenville NYC, I must explain that I was ready to say yes to God but I was not worthy to say yes to God.  I pictured my soul like a greenhouse that I was throwing rocks at for twenty years.  There was no glass left, just shards of broken glass on the ground and weeds growing all over the place.  Then we got to Saturday night adoration and on my knees while the Blessed Sacrament was brought close to me, I felt all my guilt and all my shame lifted away.  I felt whole again, my greenhouse was intact again, not replaced but the broken shards of glass were put back together.  With tears of joy, I said yes to God.  
Being in seminary is tough, classes are hard and there is a lot of other activities that take some efforts, but with the graces from God, it can be done.  I also have some devotions to saints; I love Mary and still say her rosary daily, St John Vianney, St. Augustine, St Maria Goretti, and Blessed Stanley Rother just to name a few.
Thank you for reading my story, I hope and pray this story is helpful in some way.  I guess one thing that you can take away from my story, if you think you have a call to be a priest, talk to your vocation director early, he is probably a nice guy that wants to help you discern your call and if it is a priestly call…man, there is a lot of joy in that call.
We hope that those of you reading this will keep Sean Yates in your prayers.  If we want holy priests we need to pray for them. They are undertaking a difficult journey for Our Lord and souls.  We thank them for their, "Yes".  

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