March 22, 2010.
Today Father Mark Podesta’s profile reads Australian priest studying canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. But his journey to the priesthood wasn’t always a clear path.
In fact, he remembers straying away from the Church while in college and questioning one thing.Fr. Mark Podesta
Pontifical Gregorian University “I think I’m meant to be doing something else something different you can have fun and go to parties and do that 1 or 2 days but you’re not going to do that for the rest of your life, you think what are you going to do am I going to have a family am I going to settle down.”
At the time, he worked at his father’s video rental store and befriended a priest who was a regular customer and would stop by every week. Fr. Mark Podesta
Pontifical Gregorian University “After a while it became a flashing advertisement, priest, priest, priest. And it made me think, I see he works hard, he’s a good man I wonder if I could be like him?”
Soon enough, he would join the seminary. He was one of 24 in the seminary in 2001, now nearly 10 years later there’s 40 young men in the seminary.
The Archdiocese is also seeing an upsurge in ordinations too. This June the archdiocese will ordained up to 10 men into the priesthood, the largest number since 1988.
The archdiocese credits the upsurge in vocations to what Father Podesta describes as ‘planting of the seeds’- or initiatives like World Youth Day and Year for Priests.
He says both have created an atmosphere in which young people are better able to hear and answer the call. Fr. Mark Podesta
Pontifical Gregorian University “I think young people definitely search for meaning in their lives, they have spiritual thirst an yearning to belong but also to give, young people are very giving and want to contribute to society to make society a better place.”
Father Podesta, who was ordained when he was 30 years old, expects the see the fruits of initiatives like World Youth Day and the Year for Priests continue in the years and decades ahead.