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Cardinal Tagle: What brought me to being a priest wasn't an idea, instead the joy of the people around me


Luis Antonio Tagle is one of the youngest cardinals participating in the Synod on Youth and Vocation. He is 61 years old and says that he started reading scientific journals at just 13, hoping to one day become a doctor. He had never considered entering seminary, but his parish priest helped him discover his vocation in a curious way.  

CARD. LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE
Archbishop of Manila
“He said, 'Do you want to take a scholarship exam in the Jesuit university?' He said 'If you pass this exam you can go to medical school for free.' I said 'Yes, yes, that's my dream.' And I went there. It was an entrance exam to the seminary. I needed a bit of fooling; they tricked me.”

At first, he did not understand why they had played the trick on him. Because of this he was angry with the people in his parish. 

CARD. LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE
Archbishop of Manila
“I was so angry, but now I understand the priest. I said, 'Why did you do this to me?' He said, 'I just want to open your mind. You have not considered other possibilities.'”

From then on, Cardinal Tagle started to look around and see what other opportunities could be out there. This understanding made him recognize his friends and the experiences the Church had to offer.  

CARD. LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE
Archbishop of Manila
“The teachings were very good, but what really affected a young person like me to make this discernment that my life will be for the service of the Church, was not just teaching, it was not just an idea. But the beautiful experience of having met people who had devoted or even 'wasted' their lives for Jesus. And my heart was really struck.”

Cardinal Tagle says he still remembers the feeling of friendship and humanity present in his community. He is grateful that those around him who were able to think into the future and help him broaden his horizons. They helped him make one of the most important decisions in his life.