Presently, we have eleven men in various stages of active discernment for our Province. Please pray for them as they continue to listen to God’s voice in their hearts. They are good men who want to follow Jesus, according to His will.
In order to foster vocations, our friars are planning to institute a “vocation corner” in the bulletins of our parishes, schools and other ministries. Our friars plan to fill those “corners” with personal vocation stories. Here, we present the Vocation Story of the Director of Campus Ministry at the Duke Catholic Center, Fr. Mike Martin, OFM Conv.:
Vocation Story ~ Friar Michael Martin, OFM Conv.
I was a regular teenager from a good Catholic family who went to school, had a part-time job and dated a girl who was really sweet. I had my future plans in mind, and life was good. My pastor was a good man who taught me how to pray and was passionate about Jesus. I met the Franciscan Friars Conventual at my high school which they administered, and they made a definite impact on me. They taught me about the Catholic faith and encouraged me to love Jesus and others – especially the marginalized. I was impressed by their common life, their service and their spirit, but I had plans of my own, even though there were times that I thought I might find that way of life compelling. My life wasn’t perfect, but it was good.
I had been told by people in the past that I would make a good priest or Franciscan, but I think I simply shrugged it off. Not that I thought that I couldn’t, but rather, I had other plans of my own. My senior year in High School, Fr. Marty Kobos, OFM Conv. asked me to meet with the Vocation Director of the Franciscans, and after a brief push back I acquiesced, given that at least I would be getting out of class. The meeting ended with me giving a gentle “Thanks, but No Thanks.” As time went on, I found myself having to work harder and harder to keep from thinking the thought of possibly being a Franciscan priest. The thought scared me, so better to just not think it. The longer I fought it, the more I realized that maybe it was worth at least considering. Not that there was some flash of lightning, nor some deep loud voice from heaven, but when I permitted myself to seriously consider the possibility of being a Franciscan priest, in the freedom to be open to it, I found a peace to embrace it.
I was uncertain what others would say or even if I would make it through the formation process. But I knew one thing for certain – I needed to try and I needed to try it right then. I knew if I waited any longer, I would be taken up with my other plans and this call would be slowly, but really quieted. There was grace in that realization! And while there have been difficult times over the 39 years since I made that decision, I have never regretted saying YES! I believe that I could have enjoyed being a husband and a father and could have excelled in business and led a fruitful and holy life. But I am certain that the path that the Holy Spirit has led me on as a Franciscan Friars Conventual priest has been and will continue to be the road for which I am on this earth. I was in no way as certain of that when I said yes to it many years ago – it wasn’t that clear. However, it has been in the saying yes to it daily that has brought clarity, purpose, and peace to my life in diverse spiritual, fraternal, and ministerial situations ever since. May God continue to give me the courage and wisdom to say yes today and for as many tomorrows as I am gifted.
If you are interested in Franciscan Life,
please contact our Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv.:
or call 718- 510-5822.