2018 — IV Theology

Dc. Joseph de Orbegozo, Christ the King Church, Little Rock

Attends St. Meinrad Seminary, Indiana

As I reflect on the reasons why I first felt called to the priesthood, two themes come to mind: service to God and service to his people. In junior high and high school I had been involved in altar serving, youth leadership roles and various service projects.

And I can see more clearly now how the Lord was using those experiences in my life to build up a love and desire to serve God by doing good for his people, and serving his people by loving and serving him. 

The idea of priesthood is one that seemed like the natural fit for someone who wanted to do these things, but I resisted the call for most of my time at Catholic High School in Little Rock. I felt that maybe God was nudging me in that way, but I thought that I would be happier going into psychiatric work, settling down with a family and serving God and others in that way. 

I never truly had a definitive “aha!” moment where I realized without a doubt that I needed to enter seminary during those years. Rather, during high school I was able to be a part of retreats, such as Search and Come and See, and programs, such as C2SI (Catholic Charities Summer Institute) and working at the community center, Helping Hand, in downtown Little Rock. These experiences helped me to trust in God enough and feel comfortable about my decision. Sometimes God just works that way, with a slow cumulative effect.

Now entering into my eighth year of seminary, I feel like that core desire to serve is still there; but it does not look the same. My desire to serve was based more in what I felt that I could do: my abilities, relationships and perseverance.

I feel that the Lord, through many good formators, directors, moments in prayer and moments with those who I have served, has turned my ego on its head: I actually can’t do all that much. I am not the one who can deeply affect people’s lives. I am limited.

I feel that my relationship with Christ has deepened only because I have allowed him to work on me and to shape me in such a way that puts him evermore at the center of my life as opposed to my perceptions of what his will is or just my own desires.

And I haven’t gotten there yet; God is constantly working on all of us to help us get beyond ourselves daily. But I know now, at least, that God is in charge of every moment of my journey to priesthood. 

For those who read this, I am thankful to each one of you. You pray for me, you support me, and remind me of why I joined seminary and for what reason I, one day, hope to serve each of you. Please continue to pray for me and know I am praying for you. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. 

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