I remember meeting Father Greg Galvin for the first time over lunch at Willington Pizza. It was October of 2007. I was a senior at UConn and Fr. Greg had just been named vocations director for the Diocese of Norwich.
We met to discuss my vocational discernment. I had finally decided, with the help of my hometown pastor, to pursue seminary studies and to begin the process of discerning a priestly vocation with the Diocese of Norwich. I don’t remember what we ate that day. I do, however, remember Fr. Greg asked me many questions. He was kind and considerate, open and understanding. I was happy to share with him my story and the ways in which I felt the Lord was leading me on the path of a priestly vocation. In my heart, I knew that this was what the Lord was calling me to do and I sensed that he recognized this in me as well. He seemed very prayerful and trusting in God’s plan for me. From that day forward, Fr. Greg graciously accompanied me on my journey of six-and-a-half years to priesthood. I’m forever grateful for his support and encouragement during those years. I know I am not the only priest to feel this way. There are many priests and seminarians who would say the same thing.
A vocations director has many responsibilities. He is asked to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life in the diocese. He is asked to meet with potential candidates such as myself and accompany them as they discern God’s will for their lives. He is asked to be an advocate for seminarians during their seminary experience. Fr. Greg did all this and more for 14 years, and he did so with joy.
As the new vocations director, I hope to continue this good work that Fr. Greg began. I look back on his years of service in this role and I cannot help but think of the lasting effect he has had on this diocese and all of us. I think of his and Bishop Cote’s efforts to cultivate a culture of prayer within the diocese for vocations to priesthood and religious life. With the monthly Eucharistic holy hours for vocations in the parishes throughout our diocese and weekly holy hours for vocations that Fr. Greg started at UConn, we’ve been praying to the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers.
Thank you, Father Greg. Thank you for your service to this diocese as vocations director. I hope to be as kind and considerate, open and understanding to all future candidates as you were to me. I hope to recognize in them the active presence of God and to encourage them to trust in the Lord’s plan for their lives. Above all, I hope to be an effective witness of faith and the Lord’s gratuitous love for us. May God bless you abundantly in your ministry as you now pastor the people of God at St. Phillip’s in Ashford.
By Fr. Jonathan Ficara