Common Concerns of Parents
The following concerns are addressed
by priests of the Diocese of Syracuse and their parents.
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Am I losing my son?
not! If anything, it draws a tighter bond between parents and son.
Sunday afternoons I spend with my mother. We have dinner together
with my siblings.” – Fr. John Manno
you’re not! You’re going to have more of them, because all their
friends become your friends too. They all came to our house and
called us mom and dad.” – Mrs. Edna Scardella
“My relationship with
my parents has grown stronger since I’ve become a priest.” – Fr.
Will he be happy living a celibate
“Very much so!
(Celibacy) . . . allows me to give my whole self to my ministry.” –
Fr. Joseph Scardella
“I’m not unhappy. I
know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. The sense of
fulfillment precludes any sense of loss. Marriage isn’t easy
either.” – Fr. Michael Galuppi
“He’s happy in what
he’s doing. We all have our challenges, but it’s a blessed life.” –
Mr. Gary Kreinheder
He won’t know the
joy of having children.
“I really enjoy the
families with children. I love kids and even though they’re not my
own, I have a sense of being their father, to care for them. I love
them dearly.” – Fr. Greg Kreinheder
“When I see him with
the little kids around the altar and being with the confirmation
kids, I think it’s as fulfilling as having his own. Instead of
having just his own children, he has hundreds of children!" – Mr.
I won’t have
“If parents see their
son happy and active, it may fulfill their desire.” – Fr. John Manno
“The joy I have in the
fact that he’s called to be a priest supersedes the joy of
grandchildren. I have other grandchildren too.” – Mrs. Kathy
“As for having
grandchildren, he’s my only child, so it’s a loss. I’m not going to
be experiencing (grandchildren). That void I fill with him, and the
rest of the family, my nieces and nephews and all their children.” –
Mr. Ken Galuppi
Is he ready to
commit to this forever?
“It’s important to
realize that it’s not an immediate commitment. I went to college
seminary after high school, Wadhams Hall, the last graduating class
(’02) before it closed. I had nine years to discern if this is a
commitment I can make for life.” – Fr. Greg Kreinheder
“When you go to
seminary, you don’t sign a bottom line to become a priest. It’s an
opportunity to discern, and you have several years to do it.
When couples are getting married, they might have an engagement of
one or two years, and that’s a lifetime commitment. Seminary
has excellent preparation for the vocation; your spiritual director,
mentors, brother seminarians all help you discern; they ask tough
questions and make observations.” – Fr. Michael Galuppi
“If the man is not
sure, he can go to college and go on in the world and see if the
call persists. One priest I know left seminary several times and
came back several times and then came back and stayed. He knew
nothing else would make him as happy. Nine years is a lot of
preparation. They have time to discern.” –
Mrs. Kathy Kreinheder
There is a
diminished image of the priesthood today.
“I think the scandals
will take some time for the (bad) image to fade. I was in seminary
during the scandal, so I was in a sort of protective bubble. I
wasn’t out on the front lines, taking the hits. Since I’ve been
ordained, I haven’t seen the distrust. We are our own best
self-advocates. We’re small in number, but we’ll be around for a
long time. We do things like the Men in Black basketball game to
help people see the priesthood in a different way.” - Fr. Michael
“My experience has
been that, while there is some sense of negativity that’s come
about, the majority of people love their priests very much. If
anything, it’s taken us down from that pedestal. We’re real people.
I think the ‘diminished image’ calls priests to be respected not
just for their title (of Father) but for giving their lives and
serving as a priest.” - Fr. Greg Kreinheder
“You don’t look back
on what’s been done, you make your own life and reputation.” - Mrs.
Other thoughts or comments?
“My parents said to
me, ‘We want you to be happy, and if you want to be a priest, go for
it, embrace it.’ I think many parents want their kids to get a good
education and then get a lucrative job and be happy. We may need to
let go of some expectations of what happiness is. Jesus said, ‘if
you want to be the greatest, you have to be the least.’ There is
real joy in service.” – Fr. John Manno
“If your son wants to
be a priest, listen to him! And watch out – you’re in for a wild
ride – but it’s wonderful. You’ll get to experience things you never
would have otherwise. You’ll meet many more people, and more doors
will open for you.” – Mr. Gary Kreinheder
“My role model was
Father (William) Brown at Immaculate Conception in
Fulton. Six vocations came out of his parish. I’m reading (Fr.)
Steve Rossetti’s book, ‘The Joy of the Priesthood’ now, and I agree
with him: if we want more priests, we have to have happy priests.
Even if someone is not 100 percent sure, give it a shot! If you feel
an inkling of a call, don’t be afraid to answer it. The unknown is
always frightening, but when you put yourself at God’s disposal,
wonderful things happen.” –
Fr. Joseph Scardella
What advice do you have for
nurturing vocations in the family home?
“Go to Mass every
week. Say your prayers. Pray for them. My husband and I pray the
Rosary.” – Mrs. Edna Scardella
“Pray! Pray for a
vocation in your family. A family that prays and a good parish that
prays is important.” – Fr. John Manno
“John didn’t go to
Catholic school, but we went to Mass every Sunday and holy day. He
was adamant about being an altar boy at age eight. I would
say, encourage your children to be what they want, what will
make them happy. If priesthood is what he wants, encourage him!
I remember before John was ordained a deacon, I said, ‘Is that what
you really want to do? Are you sure?’ and he said, ‘Yes,’ so we were
behind him all the way.” – Mrs. Mary Manno
“It’s the parents’
responsibility to foster a relationship with Christ, who is the
primary vocations Promoter. Also, parents need to teach by
example.” – Fr. Greg Kreinheder
“Go to church every
week and be active in parish organizations. Keep Christmas
traditions. For us, Catholic school was important too.” – Mr. Ken
“My dear young
people, I wish to share a word about vocations. First of all, my
thoughts go to your parents, grandparents and godparents. They have
been your primary educators in the faith...Let us always appreciate
that is it in families that vocations are given life.” – Pope
Benedict XVI, to seminarians and young people at St. Joseph’s
Seminary (Dunwoodie), NY April 19, 2008.
A tri-fold brochure is
available with all of this information. It will open up with
When printing, you
may need to select "Fit to Margins" in the Print Options, so that
all of the text will be readable.