“It’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are.” Fr. Craig Giera and Fr. David Pellican are joined by Fr. Cy Whitaker, S.J. This powerful discussion covers the early seeds of a vocation in Fr. Cy’s childhood, the loss of his father, joining the Jesuits at age 40, and his role as a spiritual director at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. Be inspired as Fr. Cy describes the priest’s identity as more important than the work he does and as he offers encouragement to all men discerning.
(00:03) Fr. Craig Giera and Fr. David Pellican welcome us to this episode of Men of the Hearts. This episode’s guest, Fr. Cy Whitaker, S.J., and our hosts discuss what they’ve been up to recently. They also talk about the origin of Fr. Cy’s name and family history.
(9:17) Fr. Cy shares his vocation story. As a child, he only thought about being a priest or a teacher when he grew up. Many priests and teachers told him they thought that young Cy had a vocation to the priesthood. Fr. Cy shares the powerful story of how the Scapular impacted his father’s life. After his father’s death, which was weeks before Fr. Cy’s college graduation, he became a teacher and taught for 22 years.
(24:21) At age 40, Fr. Cy called the vocation director for the Jesuits. He describes how he discerned being a priest in a religious order. He explains what a novitiate is, and what discernment with the Jesuits looks like. He also details the Jesuits vows and the two types of priests within the Jesuit order.
(34:44) “How did you end up at the seminary?” Fr. Cy has been a spiritual director at the seminary for 6 years. He describes what a spiritual director is and what his days look like in this role. He shares that spiritual direction is an intimate and personal space to aid seminarians in processing the transitions in seminary. It is an opportunity for seminarians to be led in prayer in their discernment.
(41:05) The Sacrament of the present moment: “Be here now.” Fr. Cy shares that God reveals himself to us as “I am” and not as “I was.” That God is found in the present moment, and how this wisdom helps men encounter God. He says the framework of, “Living my life as a response of love to the Love that loved me first” has been powerful for him. He encourages seminarians and men discerning the priesthood to do the same.
(49:45) Advice to men who are discerning: “Be open to the possibilities of what God wants for you.” And “What’s the next right step for you?” Fr. Cy shares, “Even if you came here (seminary) and discern out, you’ll be a better man for it. And if you stay, you’ll have one of the most exciting jobs in the world.” Fr. Cy underlines the importance of the priestly identity: “it’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are.” Fr. Cy closes in a powerful prayer for the listeners, calling on the Blessed Mother as Mother of Priests.