An SDB Brother in the Making [A Vocation Story]

Novice John Coral will profess as a Salesian Don Bosco on May 6. Here is his vocation story. 

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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.

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5 comments

  1. Thanks Rev and future Father. I hope somebody can write an article on the Salesian Brotherhood being distinct from the clerical state (from a layman’s perspective) so we can understand it better. (…apart from just saying that they’re similarly consecrated, except that Salesian Brothers do not celebrate the sacraments.

  2. Father, I don’t know anything about the Salesian Brotherhood. I need to be educated myself. Maybe, we can ask somebody who became a cleric and a Brother before becoming a priest? thinking of Fr Drans 🙂

  3. John Dick, at first, i could not believe what i was reading. My “John Dick” becoming a priest?, what happened?” was my initial reaction. But then, why can’t he be? If becoming a priest will give you joy and comfort, then, be one, John Dick. You delight the Lord for your decision. You are one of the few who the Lord has chosen to be in His flock. Well, looking back, I miss our assignments as choir for the youth mass. Promise, I do miss it. Lalo na kapag si Mons. Manahan ang celebrant na super stress-causing. Anyway, congratulations! May you continuously serve the Lord with gladness. Hope to see you one of these days!!! Take care, anak.

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