Today I had the distinct pleasure of attending the first Mass of one of the new Monks at the monastery that is attached to the Seminary/School of Theology where I am a student. This particular Monk is Fr. Michel-Benoit Moreira who has been visiting the monastery with two of his confreres from Togo for over a yearnow as he completes his education.
In that time I have come to know his amazing smile across the expanse of the Abbey Church, and we say hello to each other when we pass in the hallways, but I wouldn't say we have become close friends. And yet, as I was leaving Mass he took the time to stop and hug me. I felt so blessed.
My youngest daughter and husband were with me this weekend, and my daughter got to experience for the first time in her young life the first Mass for a newly ordained priest. I think I was probably about her age -- 9 years old -- when I went to Fr. Pat's first Mass. Fr. Pat was the son of some friends of my parents. I remember how excited I was to be there as Fr Pat. got to say the words of institution for the first time. I remember feeling so lucky to be a part of such a great day.
Today was an amazing day for a first mass too, because the readings lent themselves well to a homily, given by one of the older Monks on responding to God's call to vocations. I felt honored that I was there with my husband to hear what the older Monk who had lived his vocational call a long time had to say about listening to the still small voice of God, and being willing to follow it into unfamiliar and uncharted territory.
My vocation is stronger than ever after 22 years, I hope the same for Fr. Michele, where ever he finds himself 22 years from today. So long as he is following God, all will be well.