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All young men should hear Fr. Timothy Reid’s vocation story

Fr. Timothy Reid of St. Joseph College Seminary

St. Joseph College Seminary | Diocese of Charlotte | Fair Use via YouTube

J-P Mauro - published on 06/22/23

Fr. Timothy Reid of St. Joseph College Seminary was called when he least expected it, and his open heart changed his path forever.

Among the many fine Catholic offerings on the YouTube channel of St. Joseph College Seminary (SJCS), there are more than a few interviews with priests and seminarians. These often powerful testimonials give Catholics a peek into the life and development of a priest’s vocation and can help us better understand the discernment process.

There was one, however, that stood out as an exceptional story that all young men who are contemplating a priestly vocation should hear. 

It was over four years ago when Father Timothy Reid, a member of the formation faculty at SJCS, sat down for his interview. He began by explaining that he had never really explored the idea of pursuing a vocation in his childhood, only converting to Catholicism in his senior year of college. Soon after he found himself a good job that he enjoyed and one which allowed him to travel quite a bit. 

When the travel slowed down, he settled in his hometown of Indianapolis and found a Catholic parish where he seemed to fit well. A few weeks later, his church hosted a parish mission, with presentations and Benediction for three days. Reid had heard of the presenting priest and wanted to hear him speak, so he attended all three nights of events. The first night discussed the Eucharist, the second Our Lady, and the final night was focused on vocations. 

At the end of the third night, the priest invited all young people who were considering religious discernment to come up and receive a blessing. Reid admitted that in his prayers he had felt called to the priesthood, but even as he felt a pain in his heart he did not feel inclined to join the group at the altar. That was when the priest stopped before his blessing and looked around, stating: 

“Not everybody’s up here. The Holy Spirit is telling me there is a young man here tonight who has a call to the priesthood that he’s denying. You know who you are because you feel the pain in your heart.” 

Fr. Reid expressed how this statement blew his mind, but he could not bring himself to rise from the pew; rather, he grabbed the pew in front of him and “white-knuckled” it, holding on for dear life. At this point, the young Reid was considering bolting for the door, but he remained in his seat while the priest blessed those assembled before him and began a procession around the church before the closing of Benediction. 

It was when the priest passed by Reid that the monstrance he was holding suddenly turned to face the young man. As if with some effort, the priest pulled the monstrance back and pointed at Reid, noting, “You’re the one being called to the priesthood aren’t you?” To which all Reid could say in this pivotal moment of his life was, “Yes, Father, it’s me.” 

The priest blessed Reid and finished the procession before ending the night, but afterward Reid knew he had to go and speak to the priest, who brought him to the sacristy, where he told Reid: 

“I want to tell you something. I didn’t do that with the monstrance. Jesus pointed you out to me and showed me that you were the one with the vocation.” 

Fr. Reid explained that he went home and prayed to God, explaining that he did not want to be a priest and that if this was the path God wanted him to follow, then God would have to change his heart. The following morning he woke up with a certain bliss, absolutely certain that he needed to discern this vocation. Less than a year later he was in the seminary, studying for ordination. 

“It’s been a joyful, joyful life that I’ve had as a priest, a very rich and happy priesthood. I can see why God pointed me in this direction and I’m so glad that He did.”

Explore more touching stories of vocational discernment at St. Joseph College Seminary’s YouTube channel.

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