A Publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
Catholic Voice Online Edition
Front Page In this Issue Around the Diocese Forum News in Brief Calendar Commentary
   
Mission Statement
Contact Us
advertise
Circulation
Publication Dates
Back Issues


Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland



Movie Reviews

Mass Times



Web
Catholic Voice
placeholder
articles list
placeholder Jubilarians

Salute to our
sisters and brothers

A golden celebration

Leading the Sisters
of the Holy Family


Two ordained
as deacons,
on their way to
the priesthood

'If I can't ring the
church bells, I can preach the Gospel'

'Speak, Lord, your servant is listening'

Cross-Bay collaboration
benefits
refugee family

Ripple Academy
charts new course
for values-based education

V Encuentro:
A not-to-be-missed moment in the life of
the Catholic Church

Young men explore vocations at Quo Vadis Camp


Obituaries

Longtime educator
dies at age 72

Rev. Michael Joyce

Sister Eleanor Eagan, CSJ

Sister Suzanne Bart, SHF

Sister Teresa Baumann, OP


Travel

Catholic Voice pilgrimage honors Our Lady of Guadalupe


Youth retreats aim
to 'get you closer
to Christ'

Jesuit repeats
call for care of our
common home

90 couples renew wedding vows
in Brentwood

Love to Last:
110 couples renew
vows at St. James

placeholder
placeholder August 14, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA

Seminarians of the Diocese of Oakland lead the procession to the altar of the mission church, with Arturo Bazan and Mario Rizzo following.
CHRIS SILVA/THE CATHOLIC VOICE

'Speak, Lord, your servant is listening'

My middle name is Samuel, which is a good reminder for me to heed the infamous words of the young prophet: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10). My life has not always been one of listening to God, but God is faithful, patient and loving. My vocation story is one of discovering this about Him, and remembering that there is nothing as important as listening to the voice of God.

Rev. Mr. Mario Rizzo

I find it providential that my first weekend as a deacon I get to preach on the Transfiguration, where the disciples, Peter, James and John hear the voice of the Father telling them to listen to His beloved Son, Jesus. For me and my vocational discernment, this began in Spring 2005. I was about to graduate from high school, but was going through some "rebellious" times. My parents arranged for me to talk with our pastor at the time, Father Paul Minnihan. To my surprise, there was no rebuke, but only a question: "Have you ever thought about priesthood?"

"Speak, Lord…"

The idea of discerning priesthood, however, was totally foreign to me, and rather unappealing. Instead, the prospect of college life and all that entails was more enticing. I chose not to listen and hid Father Paul's remark in the back of my mind as I went off to pursue a life in theater, a fast-paced life, where one, if not careful, can be easily swept away. This happened to me for a time, but Father Paul's words, although hidden, were not lost. They were planted, like a seed, waiting to be watered.

 
Related Stories

Two ordained as deacons,
on their way to the priesthood


'If I can't ring the church bells,
I can preach the Gospel'
 
After I finished my degree at UC Berkeley, I returned home to Lafayette. Despite the thrill of working in live performances, something was missing: discipline, direction and purpose, to name a few things. My relationship with my parents was suffering as I squandered my days and nights listening to voices other than God's. Yet, like any good mother, mine did not stop encouraging me, and suggested that I offer my gift of singing to St. Monica.

It was cantoring at St. Monica that got me to refocus. Through the preaching of our new pastor, Father Wayne Campbell, God's voice began to become clearer, and the seed of vocation began to be watered. I was hearing that God did care about my life and my decisions, and that He was offering me that something I was seeking but could not get anywhere else. It just so happened that Father Wayne noticed this too, and to my amazement, uttered the same words I had heard five years earlier: "Have you ever thought about the priesthood?"

My discernment process was quick by most standards, about seven or eight months only. After visiting St. Patrick's with Father Wayne one summer afternoon in 2011, I knew I had to make a choice, and so I took the leap, thinking I would give it one semester and withdraw. I will never forget the sense of peace I had on move-in day, August 2011, with my parents by my side. I knew that God had brought me to this place in order to teach me how to listen to Him.

The last six years at St. Patrick's have been a blessing. I have met some of the best people I have ever known, devoted to God and to His Church. It has not always been an easy journey; at times I have wrestled with God, but He has always been faithful, patient and loving. Now that I enter my final year as a deacon I look back on the journey that led me to this point with great gratitude: for the love and support of my parents and siblings, for the camaraderie and fraternity of my brother seminarians, and for the wisdom of the priests who helped me to get to this point. My vocation to the priesthood has truly been a group effort, and I echo a favorite quote of Father Wayne Campbell: "All that I have seen has taught me to trust all I have yet to see." I count this call to priesthood as nothing but blessing and grace, and look forward to serving the Diocese of Oakland for years to come, where together we can say with each other: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening."

 
back to topup arrow

home

 
Copyright © 2017 The Catholic Voice, All Rights Reserved. Site design by Sarah Kalmon-Bauer.