Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 11, 2006
Seminarian realizes childhood dream
Michael Joosten and other local men make up half of the St. Joseph Seminary community
By BILL GLEN
"There is a wonderful community spirit in the seminary.
- Father Shayne Craig
"We are usually around the same amount - somewhere in the mid 30s."
From his own experience 15 years ago when he and perhaps two other men were the lone representatives from Edmonton, Craig says the Edmonton Archdiocese has been the one showing significant growth with local men now comprising half of the seminary community.
"There has been a strong and conscious effort on behalf of (Archbishop Thomas Collins) and Father Paul Moret and other vocation directors before him, that has paid off.
"They encouraged people to pray. They created a culture of vocations because it really can't be left up to one priest, like Father Paul Moret.
"There has to be a context in which people see vocation to religious life or priesthood, as a positive thing that at least the members of the Church value for the sake of the world."
Prayer has always been a big part of the Joosten home, says Father Vic Perron. He became a close family friend while pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Olds.
"Michael mentioned a number of times that he wanted to be a priest," said Perron, current pastor of St. Andrew's in Edmonton.
"The prayer aspect permeated the whole of the family. It was a positive thing in terms of his vocation. It is the type of thing that fosters vocation. He will definitely be a good priest. I hope everything goes well for him."
St. Joseph's has also expanded its embrace nationally as a growing number of seminarians are from the Maritimes. Two men from Antigonish, N.S., are currently doing their internship while another is in-house at St. Joseph's.
"We have a seminarian from Saint John, New Brunswick, for the first time. Maybe the word is getting out," Craig said.
"So we have all of Western Canada and now the Atlantic provinces represented."
In a prosperous culture, it can be more difficult to hear the Lord's voice because of the availability of distractions.
People are not turning to God for help as often.
There has been a certain amount of inattention, Craig said.
Pope John Paul's dedication to World Youth Day was a way for more than a billion young Catholics to proudly share and express their faith, Craig said.
Such a wave of emotion was not lost on Joosten.
The weekend before he moved into the seminary, he received a standing ovation from St. Stephen's parishioners following the announcement he had been accepted.
The young seminarian is certain their prayers will continue.
"For the first time in my life, I'm roaring to go to school," Joosten said.
"If God doesn't want me here, he has eight years to let me know."
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