Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 20, 2002
Called to the priesthood
Paul Kavanagh has felt the call since he was a child
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"There wasn't any sort of strike of lightning or anything. It was just very simple. I just felt called."
- Paul Kavanagh
"I just felt called to serve people in this way, as a priest," he says matter-of-factly. "I had a lot of good priest mentors in my life and by their example through action and through word I decided this is what I wanted to do."
He spent a year in the late 1990s learning the ins and outs of parish ministry in Stettler, Castor and Consort under the guidance of Father Greg Bittman, now the archdiocese's chancellor.
For the past year he has been serving as a deacon at Good Shepherd Parish in Edmonton.
"So far I've had no major vocation crisis," Kavanagh said. "You don't know what the future is going to hold but at this point, I feel very strong in my vocation to the priesthood."
What does he expect to enjoy as a priest? "I think just working with people," he readily replies.
"I want to proclaim the Gospel through my words and actions and I hope to be Christ-like in my actions."
Former Sherwood Park pastor Father Don Stein, now pastor at Red Deer's Sacred Heart Parish, said he encouraged Kavanaugh to enter the seminary because the lad displayed priestly qualities. He mentions Kavanagh's "very special qualities of caring for people, his compassionate heart and his service of the Church."
"His strong thing is going to be his pastoral outreach," Stein said. "He knows how to reach for the youth, the elderly, everyone. He's going to make a very good pastoral priest."
Kavanagh will also make a good preacher for he produced the best homilies of all the seminarians, Stein noted. "His sermons are short and to the point. He can really take the themes of Scriptures and bring them to the reality of everyday life."
Kavanagh doesn't know where his first assignment will be but suspects he will be in the city for the first year. "I'll be happy anywhere, though."
One of his biggest fears, he confesses, is to put into practice what he has been taught. "I'm sure I'll make a lot of mistakes but I'm sure I'm going to learn at the same time."
Given Kavanagh's nature, he is sure to leave time to socialize and to cultivate his many personal interests like golfing, reading and going to the movies. "I'm not a good golfer but I like to golf," he said.
He also enjoys long walks and watching TV, a lot of it. "I'm a TV watcher," he laughs, mentioning E.R, the West Wing and Alias as his favourite shows.
As for movies, he likes the science fiction types such as Star Trek and Spiderman.
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