Cathy and I stumbled into this accidentally a few months after Evan told us he was in discernment with the Paulists. Our pastor, Fr. Clarence, had invited Fr. James DiLuzio, CSP to come to the parish to present the Luke Live mission. A couple of weeks before the mission date, the parish office put out a call for people willing to feed Fr. DiLuzio a meal. If circumstances had been different, we might have glanced past the notice and hoped that somebody stepped up to help out.
As it was (and since Fr. DiLuzio is a Paulist) we jumped on the opportunity and scheduled a lunch and a dinner with him. The lunch was Saturday at noon, so Evan came down to join us. At lunch we talked about the seminary, the discernment process, and life as a priest. We continued the conversation over dinner a couple of nights later. It set our minds at ease on many of the questions we’d been asking.
Since then, we’ve taken advantage of every opportunity to dine with visiting priests. We’ve talked Star Trek with a geek priest, interfaith politics with a priest who worked at the Vatican for ten years, genealogy with a priest who has traced his family back to the Mayflower, life in the Holy Land with a Franciscan, formation with a man who attended minor seminary (high school seminary), travel with a retired priest from California and seminary with several. We’re learned about their backgrounds, how they were called to the priesthood and what their formation was like.
To a man, they’ve all been good company and we’ve enjoyed our time with them. Getting to know them has given us insight into Evan’s journey and let us see the human side of the priesthood. Those informal conversations have been a real blessing for us and I imagine they’d be a blessing for you as well.
So…next time you have a visiting priest in your parish, offer to take them to dinner. Oh, and don’t forget your pastor as well. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn from him.
— Dad (Evan)
We took the Franciscan — in full habit — to a lovely restaurant with outdoor seating. The habit got all of the looks. In Utah (where the LDS church makes up the majority of the population) you just don’t see men in habits that often.