Richard Kovaleski, Grand Knight of the Carbondale Knights of Columbus council, is pleased to announce that this year Council 329 was able to provide financial support to two seminarians studying for the priesthood. Checks were presented to William Asinari, Honesdale, and Rev. Mr. Edward Casey, Archbald.
Mr. Asinari, whose home parish is St. John the Evangelist in Honesdale, is studying at the Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston, New York. Rev. Mr. Casey, whose home parish is St. Rose of Lima in Carbondale, has been a deacon in the Diocese of Scranton for many years and is currently engaged in a year of prayer, study, and preparation before being ordained to the priesthood.
“I attended Scranton Prep and received a degree in sociology from the University of Scranton. I have a Master of Divinity degree from Christ the King Seminary in Aurora, New York. I was ordained a deacon in 1989, but had to take care of my parents. I’m the diocese’s longest surviving transitional deacon!” explained Rev. Mr. Casey.
While caring for his elderly parents, Rev. Mr. Casey served as a deacon at St. Rose, directed choir in Archbald, and engaged in other diocesan activities. Although he is older than most men awaiting ordination, he is happy to finally be taking the final step in his journey of service to the church. “I always thought it would happen, once I became free to do it,” he remarked.
The Diocese of Scranton currently has fourteen men engaged in preparation for ordination to the priesthood. Like Rev. Mr. Casey, several of these seminarians are older men who have decided to leave behind established careers in order to answer God’s call.
Rev. Brian J. T. Clarke, pastor of Ascension parish in Forest City and St. Katharine Drexel parish in Pleasant Mount, is one of the diocese’s five assistant vocations directors. He is grateful for those who men who have decided to embark on the path of discernment that may, ultimately, lead to ordination.
“For various reasons, men acknowledge the call to priestly service at various stages in life. Some answer the call and enter out of high school, others upon finishing college, still others after careers of varying lengths. Many of our men with ‘second career’ vocations acknowledge they have always felt called to serve the church as a priest, but sometimes the way life unfolds moves them to that commitment at a later time. We are grateful for their courage to step forward – it’s just as much of a hurdle for them as it is the young men of our parishes to respond affirmatively to the call,” said Rev. Clarke.
The Knights of Columbus is an international Catholic men’s organization that has always actively supported priests and seminarians in many ways. The Carbondale council is strongly committed to providing spiritual support as well as yearly financial support to seminarians from the area. Rev. Clarke, who is a member in the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus, believes the Knights play a meaningful role in encouraging both male and female vocations.
“The Knights of Columbus are tireless in their efforts to support seminarians as they prepare to serve God and the Church. They do so with their financial assistance, but also with a concerted effort to promote a culture of vocations within the Church. They campaign broadly for us to pray for vocations, to pray for men preparing for priesthood and religious life, and for women who are also preparing to serve God and the Church in religious life. Dare I say, without the Knights, the Church would have fewer priests and religious,” remarked Rev. Clarke.
Those who are interested in exploring the call to religious life are encouraged to be active in their parishes, to seek out groups like the Knights of Columbus who promote vocations and Catholic ideals, to speak to their pastor, and above all, to pray. Rev. Clarke offered words of advice to those who feel drawn to religious life.
He explained, “I’m not sure whether it’s obvious or not, but the first step to discern a perceived call to priesthood is pray. We underestimate the power of prayer and the clarity that can be ours when we are searching for answers – that goes for anything in life. This is especially true when we ask of God ‘What is it that you are calling me to, Lord?’. So, without a doubt, the first step is to pray and to make a very deliberate and concrete prayer. God will speak to your heart and you will know.”
“The other clear and productive way is to talk to a stable religious person who you trust, preferably your parish priest or another priest, the diocesan vocation director, or even someone in your family who is particularly prayerful and religious. Tell them where you feel you are being drawn and they will help to give you more guidance and affirmation,” he added.
For more information about vocations within the Diocese of Scranton, including contact information for vocations directors, please visit http://vocations.dioceseofscranton.org.