(Photo by Valerie Schmalz/Catholic San Francisco)
St. Veronica eighth graders pose with seminarian Cameron Faller after his talk on vocations at the South San Francisco school May 29. Pictured at left is class valedictorian Jenna Reynolds, with Amanda Vallecorse at right.
St. Pat seminarians on the road for vocations
June 6th, 2012
By Valerie Schmalz
Becoming a priest was never on his to-do list, 24-year-old seminarian Cameron Faller told a roomful of seventh and eighth graders at St. Veronica School on one of the last days of the school year.
“I had no desire to be a priest,” Faller said, until he asked God “a dangerous question” during a trip to the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France: What should he do with his life?
The idea of becoming a priest popped into his head, Faller said, after entering the pool of healing waters where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Faller’s response was: “OK, I don’t want to be a priest, but I’ll keep on asking that question.”
Faller’s assignment for the past school year was to visit schools and parishes around the Archdiocese of San Francisco to talk about vocations, said archdiocesan vocations director Father David Ghiorso. The previous year now-Father Armando Gutierrez, ordained last month, had the assignment and in the upcoming school year seminarian Andrew Ginter will be on the speaking circuit, Father Ghiorso said.
After decades of relative quiet from the pulpit and in Catholic schools about religious vocations, the San Francisco archdiocese’s seminarians are changing the conversation. “The seminarians – all of them – have been very active and very supportive of assisting candidates and encouraging others about this call. It is the very bright spot in the vocations effort,” said Father Ghiorso, who is also pastor of St. Charles Parish in San Carlos.
“Priests need to get their voice back on this,” Father Ghiorso said, noting he intends to raise the issue at the fall convocation of priests, an archdiocesan-wide meeting of priests. But for now, “the seminarians are providing a voice I’m very happy about.”
Six months after his trip to Lourdes, Faller decided to transfer from California Polytechnic State Univsersity in San Luis Obispo, where he was an engineering student – and he noted to the St. Veronica students, on track to earn $70,000 at graduation – to Gonzaga University where he began preliminary studies for the priesthood and later to St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park.
Faller is embarking on his pastoral year July 1, before returning for a final two years of study before ordination. He will be in residence at St. Cecilia Parish and teaching theology to freshmen at Archbishop Riordan High School.
“The first thing to realize about a vocation is that it is what God chooses for us,” Faller told the St. Veronica students.
“God created you in a certain way. Every human being is called to who God called us to be,” the seminarian said at the South San Francisco Catholic school May 29.
“It’s not common sense because most people in the world don’t live as though they were made in the image and likeness of God,” said the seminarian, who graduated from Marin Catholic High School.
“Just start slowly,” the seminarian said, and ask, “God, what do you want me to do?
From June 8, 2012 issue of Catholic San Francisco.