Diocesan News

Fifth-Graders Dial Up Tough Questions for Priest

Father John Gribowich skyped into Linda Seliste’s fifth grade class Nov. 7 to answer her 24 students questions about the faith and the priesthood. (Photo: Andrew Pugliese)

MARINE PARK — What goes in the sacristy before Mass? 

Did anyone ever tell you that you should be a priest? 

Why can’t women be priests? 

Are your homilies entertaining?

These were just a few of the questions Linda Seliste’s fifth-graders at Good Shepherd Catholic Academy, Marine Park, threw at Father John Gribowich during a Nov. 7 conversation via Skype. The call was a part of Catholic Telemedia Network’s “Dial-a-priest” sessions with local Catholic school students during National Vocations Awareness Week Nov. 3-9.

“It’s definitely nice to be able to teach or preach a large group of people,” Father Gribowich told the students. “But, sometimes, I personally get more when people are able to ask me questions, just like right now.”

CTN — the educational media service department of DeSales Media Group, which is The Tablet’s parent company — started “Dial-a-priest” during the year of vocations called by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio two years ago. The idea is to give students in the Diocese of Brooklyn a chance to meet more priests beyond those in their parish and hear a variety of vocation stories.

 “Now, because the kids are all into social media, this is always something good for them if they get to do anything on the computer or see someone face-to-face,” Seliste said. “They like doing this because it is something special.”

Aisling Glancy was the fifth-grader who hit Father Gribowich with the tough question, “Why can’t women be priests?” She had been wondering about that for a while. She is an altar server at her parish and is attracted to religious life because she can greater serve and connect with God.

“I was just wondering why because I always see men be priests, and I was just wondering why can’t girls do it,” Aisling explained.

Father Gribowich told Aisling that the answer is something only Jesus can truly give. He didn’t give her the answer she was hoping for, but she was okay with that.

“I just wonder about hard questions,” Aisling said.

John O’Brien, the principal who went to Catholic school from grammar school through graduate school, said priests in his life made him the man and the Catholic educator he is today.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It makes the church come alive in a different way than they’re used to, and not just on Sunday. It lets them see the priests are real people, too, and that they have the same thoughts, hopes and dreams when they were kids that our students do.”