Up Front and Personal

The Real Presence Drives My Vocation

“Where Eucharistic life flourishes, there the life of the Church will blossom.” This is truly a powerful statement by St. Pope John Paul II. 

It has stood the test of time since the very institution of the sacrament by Jesus Christ up to this day wherever Mass is celebrated. The Eucharist is not only a vital part of the Church but is the heart of the Church. 

This has been echoed by many saints and theologians throughout the centuries. To speak about the very heart of the Church is an honor and quite humbling. 

The diocese’s Eucharistic Revival is all about placing the Eucharist at center stage, essentially helping us to recognize what it truly is and the central role it plays in each of our lives. 

My participation in the revival involves speaking about my journey to the priesthood that began long before I was a seminarian. 

My path to where I am today did not involve me hearing a voice in the garden as St. Augustine did, nor hearing the voice of a crucifix telling me to rebuild the Church as St. Francis. 

My journey first began with the gentle stirrings within my heart as a young boy. It is somewhat ordinary. However, every person and their story in the eyes of God is anything but ordinary. He makes the ordinary extraordinary, the prime example being ordinary bread and wine becoming the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The story behind my vocation lies in realizing that God has chosen me for a particular function in His Church. My message is that God has chosen you too for something. 

Part of my story consists in attempting to find out what my identity is and what mark I would leave on the world when everything is said and done. This is a trap that I fell into and, perhaps, many young people fall into as well. 

The reality is that it is Christ who marks and who gives you your identity. Living out your identity that is rooted in Christ is how you leave not your own mark but Christ’s mark on the world. To do this, we must go to Christ. 

To know who we are or who I am, I must first know Him. In order to know a friend, you have to spend time with him and build a relationship. This is why Christ has given us the Eucharist so we may always have Him. 

This Eucharistic Revival is a celebration of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and His desire to have us near Him. I look forward to sharing the story of vocation and the ultimate reason behind it, Jesus Christ.

Paulo Salazar is a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.