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Archbishop talks vocations with Church of the Nativity 7th graders

May 1, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

One of the top questions that grade school children ask Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone during his visits to the parish schools is how he decided to become a bishop.

“The most important question in your life is what your vocation is,” Archbishop Cordileone told some of the students at School of the Nativity in Menlo Park on April 20.

And he said each person is called to a vocation, whether marriage, the priesthood, religious life, or the single life. During a visit with some of the seventh graders at Nativity, most of the questions revolved around faith and vocations.

In answer to their questions, the archbishop said he started thinking about becoming a priest around the time he was finishing high school and that he entered the seminary for his second year of college.

“As priests, once we give our life to the church we make a promise of obedience,” Archbishop Cordileone said, saying he served as parish priest, a pastor, an assistant to the San Diego bishop, studied in Rome, and was bishop of Oakland for three years before coming to the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

“When we become a priest we don’t apply for a job or a position. Rather we respond to what the church asks us to do. The main thing is what you just said, that we pray and that we give ourselves in sacrifice to the people God has entrusted to us,” Archbishop Cordileone said.

One girl asked him if he ever lost his faith. “No,” Archbishop Cordileone said, although he said he has experienced “times of disillusionment and times when it was hard for me.”

“I always had the conviction that Jesus was the son of God and that Jesus founded the church,” the archbishop said. In response to a question about whether he ever thought about “joining another religion?” the archbishop said he did not, but he is interested in other religions and learning about other faiths is enriching.

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