A Priest's Reflection on his Vocation Journey

By Fr Graham Stokes

I have been asked by the diocese to assist the Vocations Director Fr Richard Nesbitt, now that he is also parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima, White City.

There are a number of reasons why this came as a surprise:

I was ordained just over two years ago and continue on my learning curve about the priestly life;  my parish of Our Lady of Grace and St Edward in Chiswick takes up all the time I have; but most surprising was being asked to help in the light of my own vocation, which from initially meeting the Vocations Director through to starting at Allen Hall was a long one! 

Much of this was driven by a sense of uncertainty about whether priesthood was God’s calling for my life and, if so, whether I was able to respond.  Therefore it was a source of encouragement to me to read what Pope Francis said about the role of uncertainty in his recent interview in La Civiltà Cattolica. Citing leaders of God’s people such as Moses, he said that in discernment having all the answers is proof that God is not with you, adding that ‘uncertainty is in every true discernment that is open to finding confirmation in spiritual consolation.’

As we make our way day-by-day on our Christian journey from baptism until we come to meet God, it is good to remember that certainty is not something we should expect to find.  Indeed the absence of certainty encourages trust and hope; as Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Trust in God still, and trust in me’ (John 14:1). 

That is how I will be approaching my vocations work, whatever it may entail, and I hope and pray that it is how we may all be able to approach our lives in Christ.

Prayer for Vocations

Lord Jesus Christ, Guide and Shepherd of your people, touch the hearts of our young people, that they may, for the love of you, give their lives in the service of the Church. Renew the hearts of priests, that they may model their lives on the mystery of the Cross, and imitate the Sacred Mysteries they celebrate at the Altar. Strengthen our families, that they may generously support those of their sons whom you call to serve you as priests. Amen.

Prayer for Seminarians

Lord Jesus, we ask your special blessing on those preparing for the Sacred Priesthood. May their hearts overflow with love, understanding, and generosity. May their desire to serve inspire others to answer Your call. Lord Jesus, fill the hearts of seminarians with the fire of your love make them holy as You are Holy. Amen.