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Brian Caulfield
Editor of Fathers for Good

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June 11, 2010


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Miguel Olivas-Lujan

Where do I begin? As a teenager, I did not have a particulary strong connection with any priest but I somewhat longed for one because both of my parents often talked about the great times they had growing up, helping priests and serving in Catholic movements (including the "Columbine Family" as the KofC is often referred to in Mexico).

As a young adult, I got lukewarm -if not cold!- about our Faith but our Lord kept calling me through friends, some of whom went to Mass every day at 7 AM near our university. There, I befriended the Parish priest, who became my spiritual advisor for several years. He is now the Rector (President/Principal?) at the Monterrey (Mexico) seminar after several years working in other parishes. He officiated Mass when my wife and I exchanged marital vows.

Wherever we've gone in our 14 years of marriage, we have been blessed by the local priests, and I am hoping that my children will also feel the same blessings my parents, my wife and I have had...

Thanks for this neat question, Brian!!

Timoth L. Carvalho

My Good Priest was a Fr. John Von Schnellenberg. When I was in grammar school and thinking about becoming a priest, I was able to talk with him. He would take me on drives and we would talk about my vocation and his and it led me to go to the Seminary. I did not become a priest, but his openess and willing to listen and tell his story as well was a great inspiration.


Father Larry Paolicelli is the best priest I know. He is so solid and pastoral, and has a great love for the Blessed Mother. May all our priests be men of Mary!


Someone should gather all these stories and publish a book "The Good Priest Stories".


Last year at the age of 31, I "elected" to have surgery to repair my aortic aneurysm. I say elected because technically I could have waited and watched, but the problem with an aneurysm is that the first symptom is often the last.

The night before surgery our good friend Fr. David Toups came to pray with us and hear my confession. I was, as you can imagine, worked up. Even though this surgery is routine for the surgeons -- I heard it likened to a plan taking off and landing -- it wasn't routine for me. At daily Mass, the day before surgery I had broken down. And I was still pretty anxious that night. But God is so good. Fr. Toups, a man of incredibly deep prayer, charity and cheerfulness, heard my confession and gave me the simple, but beautiful penance of saying, "Jesus, I trust in you," three times: before going to bed, when waking up, and just as the mask with anesthesia was placed over me. Then we went inside and he prayed with me and my family and prayed specifically over me. He has special gifts of the Spirit and those two moments -- Confession and his prayers -- gave me such peace. It was truly Christ's peace because it was nothing I could create. I am anxious by nature, but I went to bed and woke up feeling totally at peace. It wasn't a confidence that the surgery would go fine; it was a cosmic confidence in Christ. No matter what happened during the surgery, I was loved and held in the palm of God's hand.

The other story involves a young priest of the Archdiocese of Washington whom I don't know well. His name is Fr. Andrew Royals, and he has had three aortic surgeries himself, the first by the same man who operated on me. Fr. Drew was very helpful in talking to me as I faced this surgery. Post-surgery I was intubated which is bad enough, but then the nurses force you to stay awake so they can work to extubate you. I finished surgery at 5 pm and woke up at 8 pm. My family left sometime shortly after I woke up. At about 10 or 10:30, I saw this figure in black gently sweep into the ICU. It was Fr. Drew. He just sat there next to me and said night prayer and was a presence. It gave me such peace during the most difficult period post-surgery. After extubation at 6 am, things really became better. One of the nurses who was British and I imagine grew up Anglican or Protestant, said, "If I'd had a minister like that growing up, I might still be going to church." Just Fr. Drew's peaceful, gentle presence was enough to spark that and to put me at peace.

The final story is of my friend Fr. Brendan Buckley, O.F.M. Cap., who despite being a pastor of a parish in Boston, flew down to Baltimore and spent parts of two days with me visiting and just being present.

These men are like so many other priests I know, good, holy, selfless, and loving. When people talk about the scandals, I return to these men who have shown me the face of Christ.

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