Novice John Coral will profess as a Salesian Don Bosco on May 6. Here is his vocation story.
When I was a child, I dreamt of becoming a priest. My grandmother was my first vocation promoter. She gave me bits and tidbits of information about the priesthood and as well as inspirations about this wonderful vocation. My young mind became inclined towards the church, the lives of the Saints and the idea of becoming a priest all because of my grandmother.
As I grew older, my attention however was diverted to some other things. I became more inclined with my friends, with playing, with studies and other distractions. I set aside my dream of becoming a priest and instead aspired to become a doctor, scientist or a businessman.
When I was in high school, I became involved in our parish commission youth. I was an active member of our choir as an instrumentalist. It was during this time that I came to know a little bit about Don Bosco and the works of the Salesian through one of the parish youth leaders.
One day during my senior year in high school, there was a group of Dominican friars who went to our school to promote vocation. We were invited to go for a vocation search-in experience. It was during this time that I have come to think again about my vocation. I shared this to my high school principal who happened to be a religious sister. She advised me to take a bachelor’s degree first, look for a job and experience living in the corporate world. If by that time I feel that am still being called to priesthood, then I can go ahead and pursue with my vocation.
Without really taking the good sister’s advice seriously, that actually became the route that I took. I finished my bachelor’s degree, worked in the corporate world and experienced living independently. It was during this time of living by myself that I come to reconsider about my vocation. I realized that even I have the money, a stable job and comfortable life, there is still something lacking in my life. I felt that I was not completely happy in that kind of life. I disclosed this to my spiritual director and he helped me in the process of my vocation discernment. I pondered on where would I find meaning and the plan of God in my life. I went for some personal silent retreats to really think and discern my vocation. It was during these time of solitude and prayer when I realized that I want to dedicate my life to the Lord in the service of the young people.
It was also during these time that prayed about my Salesian vocation.
When the right time came, I decided to enter the Salesian seminary. It was not an easy transition for me. After living for some years independently, here I am in the Seminary following a set of schedules and rules and obeying my superiors and brother assistant.
There were a lot of adjustments in my part but I was able to overcome the difficulties. I thought I have already learned a lot from living outside but my seminary formation has enriched more my experiences. I have slowly come to find meaning and happiness as I submit myself in docility to the formation process.
During the year of the novitiate, I learned more about the religious life and its beauty. I have also come to understand deeper the life of Don Bosco, his charism and the life of the Salesians. This has opened me the richness of the Salesian vocation. This has led me to appreciate the two vocations in the Salesian congregation – the priesthood and the lay brotherhood vocation. After an intense prayerful discernment, I discovered that God is calling me for the lay brotherhood. I am now looking forward to take the next phase of my life.