MOSAIC Spring 2016 - Page 21

Deacon Peter Lawrence, 28 Diocese of Lansing Fourth-year Theology MEET YOUR SEMINARIANS “God Had to Give Me a Nudge” I had thoughts of the priesthood when I was young, probably around eight years old. As I got older, that thought faded from my mind. I was still involved in youth groups and from the outside I was a “good Catholic.” But looking back, my faith wasn’t the most important thing for me. I think what was lacking for me was a real personal relationship with Christ. I would pray every now and then when I needed something, but I didn’t see faith as something that had a day-to-day impact. That was how I lived until my second year of college. That’s when things really started to change. I was invited by two friends to go to Franciscan University of Steubenville on a young adults retreat. There were speakers emphasizing was what I was going through, saying, “Your faith needs to be personal with a God who loves you instead of following a bunch of rules.” I felt like they were speaking directly to me. I came back from the retreat and thought, “Alright, I really need to allow Jesus into my life. I can’t keep saying I believe but then not letting it have an impact on my life.” So, I committed to start praying every day. I decided to give five minutes to God when I shut up and just be quiet in his presence. I started going to daily Mass where the first thoughts of priesthood really started coming to me. And initially, I pushed those thoughts away. But I continued to pray, and that’s when God needed to give me a little bit more of a nudge because I wasn’t moving quickly enough for him. He started sending people to ask me about the priesthood. I had random people coming up to me, saying, “Have you thought about the priesthood?” or “You would make a really good priest.” There wasn’t a lightning bolt when I knew, “I’m supposed to be a priest.” It was kind of a slow, steady feeling that Jesus is calling me. After I graduated from Central Michigan, I was still feeling called to the priesthood. I asked our vocation director for the application, and in the fall of 2010 I started here at Sacred Heart. One of the great things we’re blessed with here is the great faculty. Obviously, the professors are very qualified in their different areas. But more important than that is the witness of their lives. What kind of priest do I want to be for my parishioners? Honestly, I just want to help get people to Heaven. I want to allow God’s grace to work through me to draw as many people as I can to Heaven. There’s nothing that would give me greater joy than that. God willing, I will be ordained to the priesthood on June 10. It’s humbling that God is entrusting me with this great responsibility. I can’t even put it into words how excited I am. shms.edu 19