The Deacon's Bench

What’s behind it?

Some answers:

A record number of 13 seminarians have begun formation for the Diocese of San Bernardino at Bl. Junipero Serra House of Formation in Grand Terrace, Calif.

The men range in age from 18 to 40. Entrants credited priests, discernment nights, and volunteer work for helping them decide to pursue their vocations to the priesthood.

“I’ve never had doubts,” Cesar Morales told the diocesan newspaper the Inland Catholic Byte. “I’ve always been involved in the community and always been involved in the Church in some way.”

Morales, who started volunteering at church at an early age, cited the support and encouragement of his grandfather and parents in fostering his attraction to the priesthood.

“They introduced me to my faith, pushed me to continue in this wonderful path which is the priesthood,” he explained.

A member of Our Lady of Assumption in San Bernardino, Morales has spent the last five years in his parish’s prayer group, its choir, and in its RCIA program. He has also served as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist and as a catechist.

Prospective seminarian Juan Carlos Lopez said he knew he wanted to be a part of the Church by the time he was nine years old. He always noticed signs that pointed to the priesthood, but he needed to stay home to care for his parents.

“During that time I learned of the need to always be in prayer and to listen to the voice of God,” Lopez said. “That helped in my discernment. This is my vocation.”

Christopher Bash of St. Patrick Parish in Moreno Valley didn’t become involved in church until high school.

“I know I am being called to serve in some way,” Bash remarked.

Read on. And thank God.

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