Fr. Paul’s Vocation Story

Paul-Digital-223x300A Brotherhood of Like-Minded Men
The first words I ever heard from a Carmelite friar were “Join the Carmelites and see the world.” My response was “ I’m on board.” It wasn’t long, however, before those words took on a different meaning. Looking back on it now, yes, Carmel has offered the world to me in the sense of connecting with Carmelite brothers and sisters and their ministries around the globe. However, more valuable than the geographic journey has been the inward pilgrimage–the place where St. Therese wanted to be: love at the heart of the Church. That friar was talking about a community of like-minded men entering a door to the soul to encounter a God who sought us first with the purpose of loving him through ourselves and others.

I left Los Angeles in 1995 to enter Carmel. My journey began by train with the final destination being Washington D.C. I made stops in Tucson, Houston, New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago, New York and finally D.C. Every city along that journey offered me another opportunity to turn around and close the door to Carmel. But the Lord’s voice was stronger and I persevered. After seven years of formal training (Prenovitiate, Novitiate, Internship, and 4 years of theology), I professed Solemn Vows on the Feast of St. John of the Cross in 2001, and was ordained a priest in 2002.

My first assignment was at our high school in Encino, CA called Crespi Carmelite High school, where I served as a teacher and Principal. During my time at Crespi, I also had the chance to assist at several parishes in and around Los Angeles.

More than a decade has passed since my own solemn profession and ordination and I find myself engaged in another exciting chapter in my Carmelite journey. To serve in Vocations ministry and have the opportunity to witness God and the discerner working together is truly a profound and humbling experience. May the spirit of Elijah, Elisha and Mary be our constant guides as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

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