Pastor’s Keyboard: By the time you read this I will be back home having just finished a 5 day condense in New Orleans. This conference was for priests who help young men discern a call to the priesthood. There were between 200 and 300 priests from around the country and other parts of the world. All there to pray together and seek to find better ways to help young men to discern the will of the Lord.
The thing I like about this is that the emphasis was not on recruiting but helping men to hear God the Fathers voice, whether it leads to marriage (as He does for most men, Priesthood, Religious Life , or the single life). Our job is to pray for them, encourage them and to help them to see and hear what the Lord wants to do and say to them.
New Orleans is a very old city with many popular tourist traps. We had one afternoon to search it out and the rest of the days and afternoons were spent in long conferences. Some priest buddy’s and I got to Bourbon Street. Where we felt like the locals and tourist mostly stared at us. Many were friendly and said hello, some asked for blessings. One thing you could not doubt is that at least culturally New Orleans is still a very, very Catholic town.
Yet sadly there were also signs of the decay that sin bring: strip joints on main streets, prostitution, shops where they sell voodoo objects, tarot card readers right across from the St. Louis cathedral, and so much more.
Yet there were also good signs: young men filling the seminary, devout Catholics praying at the cathedral, people stopping to greet us on the street, and awesome food (always a sign of good Catholic culture).
Still I can’t wait to get back to St Mary’s County. Things aren’t perfect but home with my flock is the best place on earth for me.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Scott Woods