Parents' perspectives on a Catholic vocation journey
As parents, you know that if your son becomes a priest it is a great gift to your family. But it also necessitates a sacrifice of the traditional dream of seeing your son happily married with children of his own.
I admit that this may be the toughest objection for any parent, especially if this is your only child.
I have read beautiful accounts of parents appreciating all the spiritual children that will come from their son’s vocation. The problem is you can’t take spiritual grandchildren to Disney World.
CNN produced the documentary “This is Life with Lisa Ling: Called to the Collar” about the increase in priestly vocations in rural Michigan. It is an unusually balanced documentary on this topic done with respect and an open attitude. You can watch the entire program HERE. When Lisa Ling asks about the issue of grandchildren, parents of twin sons who are both priests point out something obvious. “Even if he did marry, there is no guarantee that he and his wife would have children.”
I have 2 other children who I hope will marry and have children someday, so this one is not a big issue for me. If my seminarian son was an only child, it would be a very different story.
For parents in this situation, I think it would take a good amount of prayer and reflection to re-evaluate how you see your golden years. If you have been waiting to go to Disney World with grandchildren, then this may be God’s way of telling you He has something else in mind for you. This will be a discernment process of your own. The love and attention you would have spent on grandchildren can be spent in other ways that you will find satisfying.
Recently, our parish held a reception for a beloved pastor of over 10 years when he was transferred to another parish. Many parishioners were there to wish him well, thank him for his fatherly care and relay how he had touched their lives. His elderly mother was there with a few family members. Many people spoke to her about what a wonderful priest her son was and how grateful they were for his service to our parish. This went on for several hours to the point that she had to sit down to be able to speak to all the people. As a parent, this must have been an amazing experience to hear how her son touched so many lives and how much he was loved by the parish.
In dealing with this objection, it seems that parents need to let go of one dream and reach out for another which is not well defined today. Trust is an essential aspect of faith in this journey. To resolve this objection, you will need to rely heavily on trusting the Lord’s love and plan for your son and for you.
Repeat as needed: “Jesus, I Trust in You.”
Please know that the authors of this blog pray daily for parents of discerning sons and daughters to find understanding and peace.