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Monday, June 24, 2024
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Vocations all in the family

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The French family at home with son Father Sam, at right and his brother Matthew, who entered the seminary in 2021. Photo: Supplied
The French family at home with son Father Sam, at right and his brother Matthew, who entered the seminary in 2021. Photo: Supplied

Christine and Bernie French have always seen their marriage as a vocation, but the fruits of that marriage are more than they could have ever imagined.

Not only have they have been blessed with seven children. One of them has become a priest, another is studying as a seminarian and they can’t rule out another pursing the priesthood or another vocation.

“We’ve always been open it,” says Christine.

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“We see it as a great privilege, and an honour for us and for the kids that the Lord would choose one of ours.”

Celebrating Vocations Week, both Christine and Bernie, who live on the Central Coast, had always felt a strong calling to marriage but still wanted to foster an openness to other vocations in their children.

“For me, it was always marriage,” said Christine. “I have always had a great respect for the religious life, and for priests and sisters and brothers, but I always wanted to be a mum.”

Father Sam French was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Broken Bay in 2021, the same year his younger brother Matthew entered the seminary.

The French household was always a place where faith was put at the centre.

“Because a vocation is not your will, but God’s will, and is ultimately a work of His grace calling you beyond what you alone can achieve.”

The family would pray the Rosary together, read from the Gospel each day and study the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Father Sam credits the vocation of his parents for encouraging him to fulfil his vocation to the priesthood.

He said he has one word of advice for young men who may be sensing a call to the priesthood – courage.

“I know from my own life experience so much time is wasted in discernment on unnecessary fears and self-doubt,” he said.

“Am I cut out for this? Am I holy enough to be a priest? Humanly speaking, the answer to both questions will always be no, and yet the call remains on your heart – why?

“Because a vocation is not your will, but God’s will, and is ultimately a work of His grace calling you beyond what you alone can achieve.

“If you sense a call to priesthood reach out and speak to a priest or contact the vocations director.

“Be a man, take courage, and never let doubts or fears prevent you from doing the will of God; the only sure path to your true fulfilment and salvation!”

If you are interested in finding out more contact Catholic Vocations Broken Bay on 0418522449 or www.bbcatholic.org.au/vocations

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