However, the idea of priesthood slowly dissipated as I got older and other interests and dreams filled my mind. My faith life also suffered as I ceased doing anything religious, including going to Mass. After years had gone by, I decided out of the blue one day to go to Mass. The priest gave a wonderful homily that day and he left me captivated and yearning for more. I went to Mass the following Sunday and again I was captured by his sermon. Soon he had me going every Sunday and eventually every day. The effects of his homilies were so great that I took a renewed interest in my Catholic faith. I began to read Scripture on a daily basis. I even read up on why Catholics do what they do. But that was not enough for me. I wanted to share what I was feeling so I signed up to teach religious education. I did note that changes were occurring in me but little did I realize that they were God’s preliminary steps to rekindle in me that interest of priesthood I once had when I was a kid. One Sunday the priest made an announcement inviting young men to a priesthood discernment retreat. Curiosity got the better of me. The question of “What if?” plagued my mind and so I signed up. The retreat did little to quench this curiosity; in fact my curiosity grew even more, so much so that it became an annoyance. I figured that the only remedy is to give in and so I applied to St. John’s Seminary College. I can recall telling my first grade teacher that I wanted to be a priest when I grew up. There was something about the priests in my parish that fascinated me.In my last year of St. John’s College, this curiosity had died down and I had no desire to continue on to the theologate. I returned to an ordinary lay life. I was hired by an insurance company and was making a decent living, but all the while I continued to be active in the Church. Although the idea of priesthood had died (for the second time), my Catholic faith had not. I learned a great deal in the seminary and I did not want for it to go to waste, so I resumed teaching religious education. I also continued the practice of attending daily Mass. Out of convenience I attended evening Mass at a neighboring parish. I was the youngest man there and questioned why no priests had ever approached me, figuring that in the Mass they always included a petition for more vocations. I began to imagine myself in their priest’s shoes and what I would do to help men, such as myself, in discerning a priestly vocation. God’s third attempt proved to be a charm. I hooked up with a spiritual director and together we unfolded what God wanted me to do with my life. A year later I applied to the seminary theologate. I now realize that the romantic vision I had of priesthood at tender age of six, the power of good homilies, the unsettling question of “What if?” and the frustration of seeing priests not doing enough for vocations were, in my opinion, God’s way of calling me to the priesthood. People like to hear priest vocation stories and many of them are surprised to hear how different and unique each calling came about. God wishes to communicate to each and every one of us, and He does so in our mode of communication. Sure, many of us wish that that mode came as clear as a voice, but God does not work that way. He wants to touch not only our ears but all of our senses, all that which encompasses our being. We are not used to this mode of communication, but we have to fine-tune our receptors. I have learned that silence, prayer and self reflection are good ways of doing this.Transitional Deacon José Martinez will be ordained to the priesthood June 4 for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. More information on the six new priests may be found on pages 8 and 9.