The formation of a priest does not end at ordination. A faithful priest must continually work to deepen his understanding of scripture, the saints, Catholic doctrine, and most importantly, his relationship with our Lord.
The priests of our diocese were recently blessed with an opportunity for reflection and renewal at a retreat led by Fr. Gus Esposito, an Augustinian priest and Director of Formation at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Villanova. The good father graciously extended his stay to talk with St. Joseph’s college seminarians currently discerning the priesthood.
Fr. Esposito has a long legacy of inspiring and guiding future priests. He served as the spiritual director to Fathers Kauth, Buettner, and Gober when they were in seminary.
Fr. Esposito openly shares the doubts and difficulties he experienced during his own discernment. He had concerns about leaving his close-knit family and the academic rigor one faces throughout seminary. He says the encouragement of priests during his own discernment helped him realize that when facing such challenges, God sends the people and experiences we need into our lives.
Fr. Esposito acknowledges there will always be obstacles, difficulties, and doubts in discerning the priesthood, especially in these troubling times. In sharing his own discernment story, he stated:
"Anyone entertaining the possibility of a response to God's call to the priesthood is to be admired. The church has experienced turmoil over the last decade. No one seems to be coming forward that is looking for fame, fortune, or prosperity. I really believe that those coming forward now are as close to the first 12 apostles as possible. They had no idea what was coming. They felt this desire to follow this man, Jesus. They knew there was danger involved. But they were really struck by the love of God, and they couldn't help but follow Him."
Please join us in prayers of thanksgiving for Fr. Esposito and our seminarians.