This January will mark the one year anniversary of A Vocation to be a Priest Website, a very special site written by and for teens who are discerning a call to the priesthood. In honor of this special occasion, I asked John H. the co-founder and webmaster of the site to write a little reflection for my blog about the website...
"Anyone who reads Anne's excellent blog will be aware (via her kind comments and link) that there is a special site on the internet for vocations to the priesthood run by a group of teenagers and includes Anne's son John(Writings of a Boy Discerning God's Call)as the Prayer & Reflection Editor. How and why did it start? I bumped into the co-founder, Dario, in cyberspace. I live in England and he in Hawaii, but we soon discovered we had a lot in common. Although we are just 16, we first felt called to become priests when we were 12! As we approach the site's first birthday, we are both astounded by the support we have been given and the direction the site has taken. Initially Dario and I just wanted a simple site in which we both told our stories that it is OK to be a teen and thinking about being a priest. That was it - make the point and then sit back! But the Lord seems to have had other plans. Other discerners wanted to add their own stories - from Australia to the USA and England to South Africa. We added more and more content and most recently we started a forum. Our reviewers include several vocations directors, one of whom said 'What a fantastic initiative'! I like to think that it works alongside the vocations sites run by adults, but I still think teens can witness best to other teens.
The internet is a fabulous place to position a vocations site. Young people may be too scared to ask their parents or priests for advice - here you can glean whatever information you need without fear; you can make up your mind, pray and reflect, ask advice from others without having to face embarrassment. But it is a risky place. As editors and webmaster, we don't know what we are doing - literally! Yes, I know the technical stuff, and yes we can get help for the pages from priests (to ensure we are orthodox), and we have the advantage of being young enough not to be scared of technology. When I say 'we don't know what we are doing', I'm thinking of a real act of faith. We post our material, but we don't know what results it will bring in or what seeds may be sown. We certainly don't dare to claim that we may have planted a vocation in someone's heart who happens to browse our pages in India or France - only God does that. At best, we cultivate and then leave the rest to Him. At harvest time, if anyone has discovered their vocation in life (to be a priest, a parent, a teacher etc) then God alone is glorified.
What keeps me going on this project? First, an unassailable sense that however much I protest that I would prefer a different vocation and that I find celibacy a difficult option, I cannot escape the calling to priesthood, nor the fact that Jesus trusts me, a most unworthy rascal, to continue His mission in the priesthood. Secondly, just above my computer, I have a sign which reads 'One sows... another reaps'. (John 4:37). We may never know the good we have done especially on the internet. It doesn't matter. Sow in faith and love and God and His Kingdom will reap. So every page I create, every link I pursue, each and every email I tackle, become my personal 'Credo'.
As we celebrate our birthday, could I ask you to pray for us, for all who visit our web site, that God will touch hearts and minds with a generous spirit?"