SASKATOON — The Saskatoon Diocese is harvesting a bumper crop of priestly vocations in the next month with two ordinations to the priesthood and another two to the transitional diaconate.
Seven young men have been attending seminary for the diocese, including Hoang Nguyen and Gregory Roth of Saskatoon, who will be ordained to the transitional diaconate in the parishes where they served their internship year in 2009-10.
Nguyen will be ordained deacon May 19 at Holy Family Parish in Saskatoon and Roth will join him as a diocesan deacon after his ordination the next day, May 20, at St. Theresa Parish in Rosetown.
The celebrations in the diocese continue, when on June 10 at St. Patrick Parish Centre, Bishop Donald Bolen will ordain two young men to the priesthood for the diocese - Geoffrey Young of Saskatoon and Matthew Ramsay of Humboldt.
The diocese Vocations Commission will also host a prayer vigil the previous evening, at Holy Spirit Church, followed by a social.
Young, 25, has been studying at St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton, and Ramsay, 29, at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon.
Young, who grew up in Saskatoon as a member of Holy Spirit Parish and attended Catholic schools, said John Paul II was an inspiration to him in his journey of discernment.
"Looking back now, I can see moments throughout my early life in which I believe God was calling me subtly to the priesthood," he said.
"But this vocation was most directly inspired by Pope John Paul II. By his witness and faithful priestly life, he showed the depth of his love for Christ and his bride, the Church," Young said.
"I entered the seminary, not knowing with any certainty, but trusting that God would continually guide me.
"In my heart, I believed in the words spoken by Pope Benedict XVI, 'Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything,'" added Young. "I simply took it one year at a time."
Each year, Young said he found himself falling deeper in love with the Church he feels called to serve. "I also find that I am a more joyful and loving person because I have heard that calling that fulfills my deepest longings."
p>Ramsay grew up as a member of St. Augustine Parish and attended St. Dominic Catholic School in Humboldt. A prayer he began to pray daily after a conference in Edmonton - "God help me to know your will and do it in my life" - eventually brought him to discern God calling him to the priesthood.
Ramsay described how God put three events in his path that helped him to accept that call: World Youth Day 2000 in Rome in which he learned to love the Mass; a year studying at the now-closed John Paul II School in Radway, Alta.; and the time he spent as a member of the Behold the Lamb travelling missionary team.
"Looking ahead now to my priestly ordination, what I'm most looking forward to is watching people encounter God," he said. "This might happen through the Mass, the sacrament of Reconciliation, or other prayers and conversation.
"However it happens, helping the people loved by God know the God who loves them is an experience worth giving my life for."
Among the other young men currently studying for the priesthood in the Saskatoon Diocese, seminarian Colin Roy is serving his internship year at St. Augustine Parish in Humboldt, while Daniel Yasinski is serving as intern at St. Anne Parish in Saskatoon.
Greg Smith-Windsor of Saskatoon is finishing up his second year of theology at St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ont.
An eighth young man, Cody Redekop, who has been working as a youth minister at St. Anne's Parish in Saskatoon, will begin his studies as a seminarian this fall at St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton.
As another initiative of the diocesan Vocations Office, Redekop has been travelling to parishes around the diocese to share his faith story and talk about the call to the priesthood that he is now discerning.