(00:03) Fr. Craig and Fr. Drew introduce Fr. Mike Cassar, the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Lansing. The three priests share memories, laugh together, and discuss recent blessings in their lives. Fr. Mike and Fr. Craig describe their experience attending a national conference for vocations directors, and Fr. Drew shares several meaningful encounters he has had in parish ministry.
(17:10) Vocation story: Fr. Mike grew up in a Lutheran family. Although he always believed in God, he gradually stopped attending church due to prioritizing hockey. While in college, he experienced a sense of “restlessness” due to not practicing his faith. After transferring schools, he returned to the Lutheran church where he grew up. Through reading literature by GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, he came to realize “that Catholics thought that they were different” and he was “missing something” as a Lutheran. Not long after, he became Catholic. Fr. Drew describes his own journey from Lutheran to Catholic, and Fr. Mike shares what his family members thought of his conversion.
(40:37) Moving toward the priesthood: While in graduate school for philosophy, Fr. Mike began attending daily Mass with his Catholic friends and became acquainted with some priests. The idea of priesthood entered into his mind while he was unsure of his future plans. Fr. Drew points out how God’s grace operated as “a gentle nudge” in Fr. Mike’s life.
(47:14) A priest advised Fr. Mike to “work with the poor and go to Eucharistic Adoration.” He got involved with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and prayed in Adoration multiple times a week. He entered seminary unsure of whether he would be ordained, but knew he would not “get any more clarity outside of seminary.” Fr. Mike shares that he did not know how to altar serve or what a novena was as a new seminarian. Fr. Drew emphasizes that “you don't have to know all this stuff before you enter the seminary.”
(52:57) A confirmation: Fr. Mike felt more sure of his vocation during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land followed by a 30-day silent retreat. He realized, “I'm more content than I could ever have thought possible… This is where I want to be. This is where I want to be forever.” Fr. Craig highlights the way that God led Fr. Mike through his discernment.
(54:39) Advice to a discerning man: Fr. Mike reiterates the advice to work with the poor and go to Adoration. He also highlights the importance of humility, and Fr. Drew adds that developing relationships with priests can help with discernment. The priests emphasize how we can love like God by caring for the poor and discuss how they spiritually feed their flocks as priests. Fr. Craig thanks Fr. Mike for appearing on the podcast, and Fr. Mike closes the episode in prayer.