Unexpected Doors

(Stephen Greco is a Capuchin in temporary vows and completing his BA in history at St. Xavier University in Chicago. He was asked to share this reflection on our vocation blog because his experience is very common among inquirers. Steve is originally from Dearborn, Michigan.)

The doors to the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit echo the words of the Gospel of Matthew: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” If only my discernment journey was that easy!

When I was growing up, my pastor would ask if anyone was thinking about becoming a priest. I wondered if I was called, but always said “no” because I wanted to have kids one day. It would not be until I was in high school that I began to think about becoming a priest again. This time I thought I was too young to make a decision that would close the door to what God might want from my life. The funny thing is, when you open yourself up to God even a little bit, he does some amazing stuff.

After high school I began attending a Henry Ford Community College and was looking into to where I should transfer to finish my undergraduate studies. In high school I had been drawn to teaching because I loved history and wanted to work with people. But I had also enjoyed being a youth group leader so much that I wondered if I could turn ministry into a career. When trying to find out how to become a professional youth minister, curiosity got the best of me, and I began looking at what it takes to become a priest. What I found made me so interested that I began discerning.

Steve Greco
My dad encouraged me to do some volunteer work over the summer to help find a direction. So, I contacted the Capuchins’ Solanus Center in Detroit and asked if I could spend the summer working and living with them. The director of the center sent my e-mail to the Capuchin’s vocation director, and, when he contacted me, I was kind of freaked out because I was only looking at the Archdiocese of Detroit. A few weeks later I went on a “Come and See” weekend at Sacred Heart Major Seminary for the archdiocese. After the retreat, I felt I was being drawn toward religious orders and their focus on community living. A year later, when I graduated with my associate’s degree, I “transferred” into the Capuchin postulancy program instead of a 4-year university.

My postulancy director often told us that conversion happens when our preconceived notions are challenged. Discernment has constantly challenged my notions, preconceived or otherwise. In my case, despite me saying I only want to be a parent or to discern diocesan priesthood, God is continually opening the doors I have tried to close.

I still haven’t spent the summer living and working at the Solanus Center, which I originally asked for, but there will be time for that later.