The Valley Catholic January 16, 2018 - Page 11 | January 16, 2018 SPIRITUALITY 11 What Our Youth Think of Priesthood Today By Father Joe Kim, Director of Vocations and Seminarians Last September, the Diocese of San Jose Vocations Office conducted a survey of 1,178 Catholic high school and Catholic college students in our Diocese. The results are helping to shape our diocesan plan for promotion of vocations to the priesthood and re- ligious life. The main conclusion is that young people cannot imagine life as a priest or religious. Although over 95 percent have a desire to do something great with their life however difficult, only 1.9 percent of young men say they would seriously consider priest- hood and 0.9 percent of young women say they would seriously consider religious life. Although all would encourage a friend who is seeking a vocation, the youth respondents struggled to understand why a young person would consider a vocation at all. When asked why someone would become a priest the most common response was “to serve God.” In hopes of helping young people understand why priests find so much significance in priesthood, we asked one of our youth to sit down with some of our priests and seminarians. Justin Chung, a junior at Bellarmine College Preparatory, and an active parishioner at Holy Korean Martyrs Parish, spent the summer interviewing several of our priests and seminarians. In the next several issues of The Valley Catholic, he will share what he thinks of the life of priesthood. In our ongoing dialogue with young Catholics in our families, schools and parishes, it is our hope that a young perspective on priesthood would open up further dialogue and reflection on the possibility of a religious vocation. Given that our diocese needs to ordain 45 new priests in the next 14 years just to cover for retirement of our clergy, these conversations with young men in our local Church are particularly significant. This past summer I had the privileged opportunity to inter- view priests around the San Jose Diocese. Each priest was so wel- coming and talking with each of them was so interesting and enjoyable because I got to learn about their lives in ministry and as people, hearing a variety of insights on living out the Catholic faith. Their lives have been enriched with emotion and ex- periences and listening to their stories truly was an amazing opportunity. This experience has definitely helped me to grow in my faith, and these articles I have written encapsulate my conversations with a variety of knowledgeable and interesting priests as well as my reflections after each talk. Please enjoy. – Justin Chung ‘19 Bellarmine College Preparatory Monsignor Francisco Rios By Justin Chung ’19 Bellarmine College Preparatory As I walked into the parish office of Sacred Heart of Jesus, I was surprised to be greeted with a large smile, a warm handshake, and a genuine, “How are you?” before I could recognize it was Monsignor Francisco Rios. I immediately felt welcome. Monsignor Rios’s native roots trace back to a small town in Argentina called Santa Elena where he was born and raised, the second youngest son of five brothers and a sister. Sports played a pivotal role in his childhood. “Being a small town we did a lot of sports...I loved basketball. I played basketball, vol- leyball, [and] loved dancing, there was a river in my hometown and we went swimming. Lots of sports and dancing. Those were the things.” Monsignor Rios’s road to the priesthood can be defined as unpredictable. Busy with basketball from a young age, he received Confirmation at age 11 and didn’t attend church until he was 21. One day, when he was studying to become a teacher he decided to see how it was like. “A younger priest was coming. And that kind of caught my attention.” This one step was all it took to alter his life. “[The priest] lent me a book about Saint John Bosco’s life… I kinda liked it… he lent me a book on Saint Benedict. And I noticed anytime I read those books I was like ‘I can do this… I can do that… but I was not sure.’” Little by little, Monsignor Rios became increasingly active at church. He began to attend Masses frequently, started teaching catechism, and became involved in the youth ministry. Monsignor Rios spent years serving the church and reached the age where he had to decide what he wanted to do with his life. During a test in his last year of school, a sister asked him about the calling of the apostles. “She said to me, ‘Don’t you think that God is calling you?’ I said no immediately.” Nevertheless, Monsignor Rios became conflicted. Some days he felt the calling to enter the priesthood and others he felt Monsignor Francisco Rios doubtful. “In the end you have to make your deci- sions. And when I told my mom [I was entering the