When we got to the 5th floor, I met my favorite young priest, Fr. Paul Li. I told him about TJ and sure enough, we found ourselves laughing again, just like we did when he helped me put together an anual Mass for the homeschoolers last year.
So there we were, seated at a round table: Fr. Peter, TJ, my other children and I. We had all smiles on our faces, especially TJ. One thing I noticed about him was he had this most comfortable, joyful and peaceful demeanor, but of course, being his mother, I won't give it any meaning. :-)
Fr. Peter had an application form on the table and jotted down information which the siblings mostly answered for TJ, and yes, with smiles and giggles. The questions in the back made most of us laugh:
Are you suffering from mental illness?
Have you seen a psychiatrist?
Are you taking any prescribed medications?
Do you have any debts?
If so, how much do you owe?
HA HA HA...
Oh what joy! What joy! But soon we had to go. 3 of my children left a few minutes early to prepare and put their albs on to serve as acolytes for the 12 noon Mass.
In many occasions, the family, except TJ, served at various Masses. My husband and I sang with the cathedral's choir and sometimes cantored while the 4 children altar served. Soon, he will be joining the team.
Thinking of TJ serving at Mass is making all of us nervous. He's the baby of the family, and in some ways, still acts like one. This child still remains in the metaphysical stage where his connection with God is in the wonder and awe. Full of wonder and awe for God and his creation, yes, that is TJ. He also possesses a natural ability to make us laugh with his simple siliness.
TJ will receive his first Sacrament of Reconciliation this Saturday, March 15. His God-chosen godfather will be there to support him (a beautiful thing!). His First Holy Communion will take place on Sunday, March 30.
Fr. Peter, we thank you! The seed has been planted. It is a day we will not forget.
I was encouraged by Fr. Peter to continue nurturing the call. The priesthood may very well be TJ's vocation, but being his mother, I won't overly give it meaning. I will just have to occasionally talk about this joyful interview with friends and family. That's all. :-)
As for the nurturing part, I will continue to take him to daily Mass with his siblings, teach him the richness of our faith as best I can, give him lots of hugs and kisses and affirmation, and the rest is God's.