rn A seminarian’s journey: ‘Vocation is founded on relationship’BY TIMOTHY GRUMBACHA funny thing about love is that the more it grows, the more it will look back on where it is coming from and gently laugh — you know, the kind of knowing laugh, where one chuckles because they used to think they were perfect before. But as we learn to love better and better, we also learn to be humble, acknowledging that we used to love so weakly, and that we can still love so much better. That's the story of my vocation and my discernment so far, and I have to accept that I've grown during my seminary formation so far from a person who thought he was ready to be a priest tomorrow into a person who knows he will never be ready to be a priest, but can choose to trust that God has placed him right where he is supposed to be, priest or not.So my discernment has been about learning to grow, but also how to be comfortable with myself. As someone who grew up wanting my prayer to be something that remains between me and God, a major part of my spiritual formation has been learning how to better pray with others. After all, a priest is kind of a public person! Sometimes I've felt like I've been drawn kicking and screaming into community. Whether it be daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, or Rosaries together with the guys at St. John’s Seminary, we've learned together that God wants us to be together in prayer.While learning how to better cultivate my own inner prayer life, my discernment and formation are helping me to be more comfortable sharing my inner life with those around me. It's as simple as a funny moment at my younger brother's wedding.My dad was toasting my brother and his new wife, giving thanks for how all of his children have found such meaningful relationships in their lives. After naming my siblings and their respective significant others, he got to me and said, "Tim and ... Jesus." I was laughing as hard as anyone else, because I knew my comfort level with myself in prayer and around others has grown to the point where I look at my relationship with Christ as something that does make me happy, not embarrassed, and I can laugh about something like that with everyone else.And so, discernment and seminary life has been a constant reminder that my vocation is founded so much on relationship that I dare not consider it to be something that belongs to me alone. It belongs:—to my parents who raised me Catholic and showed me what it means to love; —to the beautiful people of my home parish of St. Monica who have nourished my desire to reach out to the community around us; —to Father Tim Klosterman, who became a good friend when he was an associate pastor at St. Monica, and who was super-supportive the process of learmning about and entering seminary formation (it was important for me to have a younger priest that I could really relate to as a guide during that sometimes stressful time);—to St. Monica herself for praying for me as a son of hers and St. Augustine, my Confirmation patron saint, for confusing me so well academically (oh, and for his great faith and love of God, too!); —to my siblings for their examples of loving relationships (as my dad mentioned at the wedding); —to all the teens I've worked with since high school, from St. Monica's to St. Raphael's and everywhere in between, for showing me that faith in God lights the darkest moments of life as well as the great joys and energy of youth; —to everyone else that I have ever prayed with, dearest friends and complete strangers, every prayer bringing me closer to my vocation; —and now to you who are reading this, part of my story belongs to you, and for that I am so thankful. So discernment is absolutely not something done in isolation. It has been all about the joys and struggles that come with love, which can really only look back on itself and gently laugh.Timothy Grumbach will enter his second year of theological formation this fall at St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo. His home parish is St. Monica Church, Santa Monica.Life as a priest: ‘Interesting and challenging, but it is my joy’BY REV. TIMOTHY KLOSTERMANIt has now been five years since the day of my ordination to the priesthood. In that time, I have grown in my understanding and appreciation of the depth of love that God has for His people. I believe this discovery to be at the heart of the joy of the priesthood. The sacraments guide our faithful into this relationship. As a priest, I am so privileged to be a part of those moments of grace and special occasions. This is, in fact, the great privilege of engaging in a life of service to God’s people as a priest. I currently serve as chaplain at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School and am in residence in St. Alphonsus Church in East Los Angeles. Fifteen years ago, when I graduated from Paraclete High School in Lancaster, I could have never imagined myself teaching and ministering at a high school. Now, as a chaplain at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary, I have been tasked with the work of raising the awareness that God is speaking to our young people of this generation. The students at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary teach me something new every day.I was recently accepted to the University of Notre Dame’s Remick Leadership Program, which focuses on the study of Catholic education administration. The Remick Program is a part of a larger program at Notre Dame called Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). ACE, like its counterpart PLACE at Loyola Marymount University, strives to promote Catholic education in the most vulnerable communities. In my previous assignment as an associate pastor at St. Monica Church in Santa Monica, I had so many opportunities to see this great work in God’s people. It was my first assignment, as priest, so I had a considerable amount to learn. The people were so patient and kind. In many ways, they taught me what it is to be a priest. Among the parishioners in this wonderfully diverse parish are dedicated, loving parents of developmentally disabled children, and young people who have recently moved from another part of the country and are seeking a community where they can be connected in deeper ways than what the world offers. It is a community which takes service seriously with outreach to Africa, Mexico and to the people of the streets of Santa Monica. These are the heroes whom I continue to admire. A Scriptural passage that helps me to stay focused on the priesthood of Jesus Christ is found in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Zachariah said of his son John: “In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1: 78-79).This compassion is what is common in all of the priests who have inspired me in my life. I would describe priesthood as a journey of discovery of the tender compassion of our God. Through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, I strive to be that compassion wherever my ministry takes me. Life as a priest has been extremely interesting and challenging, but it is my joy. Thank you for your support and prayers.Father Timothy Klosterman was ordained in 2008 from St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo. {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0531/vocations/{/gallery}rn