A sign bringing clarity …

Ten years ago, I entered seminary formation with the hopes of discerning a call to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. They were wonderful years at Mount Angel Seminary and Saint Patrick’s Seminary & University. Many experiences,  countless lessons, and room for constant growth.

In 2013, I freely discerned God’s will outside of seminary and entered into a teaching post at two Catholic schools in the Sacramento area.  It was a wonderful time in my life to inspire children to sing and make music and at the same time instill a love for the faith which I have treasured my whole life.


Following this chapter, I decided to follow the promptings of my heart and sought the desire to give seminary life another try. On that road back to seminary, I was sent to do pastoral work at Saint Joseph Parish in Lincoln. This experience was another gift in my life as it taught me to serve the elderly and allowed me to lead God’s people as Director of Religious Education. After my summer in Mexico, I found myself back in Portland, Oregon ready to give seminary life one more attempt.

Returning to Mount Angel has been an immense gift to me! Not only did I return to academic pursuits and the intense spiritual and pastoral life, I came to rediscover the joy of living with friends whom I have come to know as brothers and journeying with them in our intimate pursuit to serve the Lord and his Church.

This has been my journey thus far and I have had a heart filled with gratitude for what God has done for my life … and now a final turning point with a clear direction: 

On Tuesday, February 21 I received a direct sign that gave me the complete clarity to the fact that I am not called to the ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ. In all my attempts to serve the Lord these past ten years in this way, in my desire to know him more and to love him with my all … I’ve come to the absolute certainty that the Holy Spirit moves me to embrace this point in my life. I packed my bags on Tuesday evening with the help of brothers to say farewell and to express my gratitude to them for allowing me to be utterly human and live in the joy of their friendship. Following Christ means taking up the cross every day in imitation of him. It is a great consolation knowing that brothers helped me bear that cross that constantly purifies us.

I returned to California on February 22. Now, I can move on in my life knowing that a new beginning is upon me and I am at peace.

These sentiments may cause some to doubt, may cause some to be confused, and in reality may cause the loss of some friends and colleagues … but for me, I am at peace for I know with certainty that God has led me in this process that has stretched me in every direction, purified my intentions, strengthened my love for the Lord, and has helped me to grow in my holiness.

These are my complete sentiments and reflections, nothing added or taken away. Finally, these words from an anonymous Portland poet seem to put into words the feelings of my heart in this past decade of pursuing divine love. On to a new beginning:

There’s so much love we are capable of
And that we are created for.
I see a love story
A story that nitpicks my heart which slowly peeks through a smile
And the sparkle in the eye.
There is so much love
That brings out a natural
Joy in all we do.
Tears are bursting out of me
Stopping it I could not do.
Let me pass through this ecstasy and rest in the bosom of this love.



David, Santiago, and Peter on my final evening




The Sacramento Seminarians whom I have come to share my life with this year.



About TheAspiringCatholic

Welcome and thank you for visiting this page! You’ll find my personal reflections on Christian Discipleship, insights on my adventures throughout the world, one day at a time, and musing everything Catholic and musical with a cup of coffee each morning.
This entry was posted in Catholic, Meditation, Prayer, Priesthood, Vocations. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to A sign bringing clarity …

  1. David McCarley says:

    My prayers are always with you. whatever your direction I am sure all will be well with you. Use your gifts. Many thanks – David

  2. Raquel Naval says:

    There is a saying men’s proposes, God disposes. Go and take the path where you can flourish I know God will always be with you in whatever direction you take. You are very smart and talented person I am sure you will become successful. Take care and always remember we are always here praying for you. Please do keep in touch. Your Ate Raquel

  3. larryzb says:

    A very moving post. Best wishes to you on your continuing journey.

  4. Ken & Becky Barron says:

    We will continue to pray for you, Manolito!! We loved your presence while at St. Joseph’s-Lincoln. And, we know God will lead you to where He wants you. Your enthusiasm & joy for the faith are a gift to others whether you are called to the priesthood, or not. Continue to pray for Ian as he discerns whether to pursue priesthood after college, or whether he goes to law school….Love, Ken & Becky Barron

  5. Peggy Ryan says:

    My Dear Manolito, I know whatever you do in life is a Blessing. You have touched so many people, young and old alike. I am so grateful to have had the pleasure of you touching my life. I will continue to pray for you always. I do hope you keep up your posts, they are always inspiring and give us pause to think. All the blessings to you,
    Peggy Ryan

  6. JoAnn Harris says:

    You are still and will always be in my Prayers God will be beside you in your continuing journey. Bless you in that journey

  7. I’m very glad you’ve found peace! I’ve been reminded the past few years of one of the talks Fr. Paschal gave us about “amen” as a full yes to Christ. I think that’s what we’re doing, but we can only see one step ahead and say yes.

  8. Marcella Bove-Huttie says:

    God has other plans for you Manolito. Whatever they may be, I’m cetain you will lead others to Him. My kids speak of you other. You’ve left a profound mark on them, showing them how to live faith vibrantly. You are in our prayers.
    The parish kids still await your return. 😉

  9. Raymond Price says:

    God bless you on your path, I am blessed that you crossed my path at a very important time, and for that I will always be thankful.

  10. Linda Austin says:

    Manolito, My prayers are with you as you travel onward on your journey. You have so many talents, that you can use for the Lord, I know you will find a few in your life. Keep Jesus at your helm no matter which one you chose and you will be successful. Thank you for all you have given to us while here at St. Joseph in Lincoln. I enjoyed working with you. Keep in touch. GB Linda Austin

  11. Gail Davenport says:

    Dearest Manolito, I’ve been praying for you daily for you to discover God’s will for your life. I feel a great loss, though, in your discovery. It’s a very bittersweet moment. God bless you and your new beginnings. Gail Davenport

  12. Emmett and Jackie says:

    Manolito, dear friend. regardless of your specific role in our faith, we can never think of you as anything other than a holy, deeply spiritual asset to whatever community you choose to serve. You have so much talent and faith to offer, we know the Holy Spirit will guide you to use it well to the Glory of God, our Father. We hope you are near enough to us that we might see you often to enjoy your company and your humor. It is an honor to be included among your acquaintances.

    Love, Deacon Emmett and Jackie

  13. Ryan Patrick Mahar says:

    The dinning hall at Mount Angel Seminary seems a bit quieter with the absence of your thunderous laugh. I hope you continue to spread God’s joy wherever you bring his laughter.

  14. Dianna Noyes says:

    Manolito, I know that you will be missed by your brothers at the seminary. You are such a beautiful person and soul and always give so much of yourself to those around you. My life has been so positively impacted as a result of the time you spent with us in Lincoln. And I know that you inspired so many of our young people here, as well as the “elderly” (LOL). I’m still trying to figure out into which category I fall – I’m going with the youth.
    Thus, I know that whatever God has in store for you, you will continue to help so many people in your vocation. I wish you well and will continue to pray for you and hope that you will continue to pray for us here in Lincoln. Our doors are always open…please come visit. God is good!

  15. gracie woodward says:

    You and your brother Seminarians remain in my daily prayers! You are an inspiration to all who meet you …. me included! Please keep me in your prayers! God Bless you Gracie Woodward

  16. John Freschi says:

    Dear Manolito
    Thank you for all that you taught us and brought into our lives while you were with us and we got to know you while at St Josephs in Lincoln. I wish all the very best for you and I know that the Lord has brought you to this new direction in your life and I sincerely feel that these past 10 years have been preparation you for it. God Bless you and once again, thanks you for the memories you left us with of you as a very fine man who came into our lives and inspired us at St Josephs,
    I love you young brother, stay well and stay in touch with us.
    John Freschi

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