“I have clearly heard the Lord in what seemed to be a voice saying, ‘Be a priest for me!’”

Joseph Lennon August 10, 2022
Divine Child Dearborn, MI

After a year and a half of community college, I found myself in a place where I realized I needed a serious and intimate relationship with the Lord. I had never lost my faith at any point in my life, but at the time I was not fully relying on the Lord and was looking to worldly things to find comfort. I was preparing to start Exodus 90, a fantastic program for Catholic men to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus through prayer and asceticism. The weekend before I was to start Exodus 90, I went on a silent retreat with a religious order called Miles Christi.
One of the evenings we were having Eucharistic adoration and the priest gave a talk. During the talk he asked two key questions. 
The first was, ‘What is something in your life that the Lord is calling you to give up for Him?’ I knew exactly what the Lord was asking me to give up for Him, a worldly comfort which had already been put on my heart to remove from my life. But I asked the Lord, ‘How can I do this; how can I give this up?’ I was completely weeping. I remember specifically telling the Lord, ‘I will do this because you are asking it of me, but I really need your help because I cannot do this on my own.’
The second question proposed by the priest was, ‘What is the Lord calling you to do; what is your vocation?’ Immediately I had a burning in my heart and it is really the only time I have clearly heard the Lord in what seemed to be a voice saying, ‘Be a priest for me!’

This was not the first time I had thought about being a priest. My first desire to be a priest came when I was four years old and my grandma made me vestments and bought me a chalice and paten to ‘play Mass.’ But now, at this silent retreat, I asked the Lord, ‘How can I be a priest? Look at how broken I am… look at what I have done in my life.’ But despite my worries, there was a peace there and again, as with the first question, my reply to the Lord was, ‘I will do this, Lord, if it is your will, but you need to help me because I cannot do this on my own.’
After the retreat my life radically changed. With the aid of the Exodus 90 program, I grew tremendously in my spiritual life. I went on to apply to seminary, but was asked to wait a year in order to work on some things and make sure this was a true calling from the Lord. After that additional year of discernment (during which I lived in the rectory of St. Frances Cabrini and took classes at Sacred Heart Major Seminary) I was accepted to the program of priestly formation at the seminary, studying for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
I have now completed my second year as a seminarian at Sacred Heart and know that I would never be where I am without the encounter with Jesus in Eucharistic adoration at the Miles Christi retreat.

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