Taking the path toward priesthood

By Rachel Cywinski


If you were called to the vowed religious life, how would you know?

For John Bransfield of New Jersey, it’s something that “every young man and woman should give thought to,” he said.

“Pray about it and see if this is what God is calling,” Bransfield said. “Many times God is calling and we have to practice listening in a very long journey. Many will be surprised. I was. My call to priesthood actually came out of several people telling me I should become a priest. I prayed about it and decided God was in fact calling me to be a priest.”

Bransfield passed another milestone last Dec. 17 toward becoming a Trinitarian priest by being installed as a lector/reader and acolyte in an institution ceremony in Our Lady’s Chapel. The institution ceremony was followed by a communal meal from the Philippines, homeland of three other newly installed readers and acolytes that day: James Mark Adame, Roderick Reyes and

Richard Giner.

The four men share the journey toward priesthood with others living in the Trinitarian House with the Rev. Tom Dymowski, campus chaplain for University Mission and Ministry.

Adame said he has always been certain of his calling.

“My grandparents go to Mass every Sunday,” Adame said. “After communion they would be looking for me and I would be up on the altar with my cousins who were servers. And I would be looking at the priest, wondering, ‘When can I do that?’ ”

Adame, who was part of the Benedictines in the Philippines and has twice been part of the Trinitarian order in the United States, believes his fluency in four languages “is important because we can share the Word of God with all the people.”

Reyes, who also speaks four languages, said he also experienced his calling when he was a boy.

“When I was in high school I felt that I (was) being called to be a priest,” Reyes said. “ I was an altar boy at age 11, went to Catholic high school and was also involved in the church attached to the school. I would tell others if they have a call to religious life, they have to examine it, to know who they are, who will you become and how will you get there.”

Giner, also fluent in four languages, spent six years with the Augustinians before leaving the order.

“I decided to try the outside world and worked in a bank for five years,” Giner said. “And then I realized there was this joy that I felt with the Augustinians — and even though at the bank I had a lot of money it wasn’t the same.
“ Today people leave the religious aspect of life out. There is fulfillment; there is joy in the religious life. I will use any means possible to emphasize God’s special calling for every person. The opportunity to share life with others is very fulfilling and rewarding. To be able to help people to see God’s grace and God’s blessing, to be God’s aide is huge. This is not a job. This is not a career. It is a way of life.”

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