Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will ordain two men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Louis at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 23, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.
Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Mass will not be open to the public. A livestream of the Mass will be broadcast at www.cathedralstl.org. The St. Louis Review will provide coverage of the ordination online at stlouisreview.com.
Here are their stories of being called to the priesthood:
Rev. Mr. Christopher Smith
As a convert to the Catholic Church in 2007, I did not feel called to the priesthood from a young age. Through a series of invitations, I came to Mass, which eventually led to my conversion. I also attended a retreat, which led to me becoming more involved in my faith, and also to leadership within groups in which I was involved. I have been drawn closer to Jesus in a step-wise manner that called me not just to greater involvement in the Church, but to serve Jesus Himself, and through doing so, to serve the Church as a whole in a deeper way.
After a year or two of kicking the idea of a vocation around in my head and in my prayers, and speaking with several priests and attending several more retreats, the call became clearer toward the diocesan priesthood. This clarity reached its peak when I was provided the chance to travel to Italy, and unexpectedly had the opportunity to shake the hand of Pope Benedict XVI. I felt God was telling me to act. I quit my job as a pharmacist as soon as I could, sold my condominium, and entered the seminary in 2014. Since entering, I have felt immensely blessed and affirmed in my discernment. The support of the people of the Archdiocese of St. Louis has been incredible along the way.
Rev. Mr. Dane Westhoff
The priesthood never crossed my mind until I was 27. I was always a faithful Catholic, but I didn’t take my faith seriously until my mid-20s. It started with a simple Bible study (The Great Adventure Timeline Series), which led me to other Catholic reading and listening to Catholic Answers. This increased my faith in the Catholic Church and led me to a greater understanding of the Mass.
I regularly attended a young adult Catholic group, Crossroads St. Charles, where a priest finally asked me: “Why aren’t you in the seminary?” It was only then I realized that I never gave the priesthood a fair chance in my life, and if I was going to call myself a good Catholic, I should consider giving my life to Christ and those who follow Him, much like the story of the rich young man in Matthew 19.