Back in July of 2007, Bishop Cote met with me in the Chancery and said he had given much thought to who he wanted to become the next Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Norwich. He looked me in the eye and said that throughout the process, he continued to come back to me.
He offered me a chance to consider it, think about it, and get back to him with my decision, which was more than very kind of the Bishop. I told the Bishop that I would be very willing to accept that this was the next way of serving the diocese and did not want to give it any more thought.
When I took my vow of obedience, I knew at that time that I would always need to continue to say ‘yes’ throughout my life as a priest. Now, almost 14 years later, humbled by the opportunity,
I say thank you Bishop Cote for your trust in me, your many years of support, encouragement and the confidence that you instilled in me. Thank you also to my brother priests for your trust and your support in so many different ways - from encouragement to always being willing to assist with hosting a seminarian at your parish during a summer assignment; and encouraging men considering the priesthood to speak with me.
Thanks to so many around the diocese who over the years have prayed personally for our seminarians and priests, as well as for religious vocations. Thanks to you who have attended our traveling monthly Holy Hour and our ordination Masses. Thank you to those from many parishes around the diocese who have supported our annual Seminarian Education Fund Collection each May. It assists in paying for at least one or two seminarians’ years of formation in the seminary.
And thanks to all the priests who allowed and supported our annual Advent Gift Card for seminarians at Christmas. The cards help cover some of the personal costs that seminarians worry about because they are not working a job and do not have a regular income while in formation.
Thank you to the staff at the Chancery who serve as secretaries to multiple priests, for making our lives easier. They rarely get the full recognition for their selfless service that always comes with kindness and patience.
It has been a true honor to serve our diocese in this role and extremely humbling to have a small part in assisting a man called by God to be one of His priests. There truly continues to be a great need for men willing to lay down their lives for the Church by responding to this call to priesthood. Is it easy? No. Is it fulfilling? Absolutely.
To all those I have served in parish work during the time I have also been director of vocations, thank you for your understanding and patience. You have all had a part in helping bring wonderful priestly men to our diocese.
Now with a grateful heart I thank Bishop Cote again for appointing Fr. Jonathan Ficara to take on the vocation office. I ask all of you to pray for Father, encourage him and keep him in your prayers. Father Jonathan was the first young man I spoke with as a new vocation director. He was the first in my 14 years who I assisted through the complete journey of formation to the priesthood. He is a fine priest and will only continue to get better. He will be a great Vocations Director. Please support him, as you did me, as he continues to bring to the Norwich Diocese the men God is calling to serve in this part of His vast vineyard.
Father Jonathan, thank you for your second ‘yes’ to God and your ‘yes’ to Bishop Cote. You have my prayers and support and those of everyone in this wonderful part of God’s immense family. God bless all your efforts.
Christ be with you all.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Greg Galvin