Journey toward marriage vocation began at young age
I was the flower girl in my aunt and uncle’s wedding. From day one, I was privileged to witness their joyful marriage. My brother and I used to stay with them when our little sister was sick in the hospital. We could see that the gift of their love extended beyond them as a couple — it also radiated to their four children, extended family, friends and even strangers.
As I reached my teen years, I’d babysit for them. As they’d be getting ready for their dates, Uncle Bob would kiss Aunt Tibby in the kitchen a la Rhett Butler style! Their love in action was very obvious to my young eyes. I began thinking, “Wow, I want to be married like that someday —and be a mom.” Thus began the journey of my vocation to marriage.
It may sound silly, but I began at a young age to make a “check list” of sorts in my mind as to what type of morals, goals and characteristics my future husband should have. And since I was going to spend the rest of my life with this spouse, he’d also have to make my blood boil!
Eventually, I re-connected with the perfect man for me — Eric Schneeman — who had gone to St. Joseph’s grade school when I did. He came from a great family, which was important to me, and he didn’t run in the other direction when I told him that I hoped for a ton of kids.
We’ve been married 23 years and have nine children. To us, marriage is the foundation of family and society. It is more than just our names signed on a governmental piece of paper — like a passport.
Marriage is a sacrament from which we receive the grace needed to journey well in our vocation.
St. Joseph, West St. Paul
Holy Spirit led me to youth ministry career
I consider my career a calling because I was not seeking it out on my own. I was initially a pre-med major in college. It was while I was on a retreat that I heard the call. I can’t remember the speaker’s name or even what he said, but he was a youth minister from Georgia, and it was something about him and his presence that resonated with me. The Holy Spirit spoke in my heart in a profound way and led me to pursue a career in youth ministry.
After 10 years in youth ministry I can honestly say this is exactly what God created me to do. It is in youth ministry that I feel I can best use my gifts and talents to help bring about the reign of God. It is within youth ministry that I can hopefully help empower the teens who I work with to be witnesses of their faith in the world today. It is also within youth ministry that I am challenged and humbled the most, which in turn forces me to rely not on myself alone but on God who is leading me.
My marriage and family life are my upper-case “V” vocation, but the lower-case “v” vocation of my career is still, and hopefully will continue to be, a call that I can be a part of for a long time.
The writer is director of youth ministry at St. Vincent de Paul, Brooklyn Park.
Law work offers opportunity to develop virtues
I have been a lawyer for 29 years. I consider my profession a calling because it helps me to serve God and my neighbor.
Whether I am negotiating an agreement, discussing the disposition of someone’s estate or arguing a case in court, I have the opportunity to develop the virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice in myself and my clients.
When we first meet, my clients are in need, or they are hurt, or they suffer pain. We must work together to protect the innocent, to call the wrongdoer to account and to heal the brokenness that brought the client into my office.
If, when my representation is finished, we have become better people, we have answered a call by God himself.
I am sure every profession expresses God’s call to us at times, but my profession calls me every day.
Steven E. Antolak
St. Gerard Majella, Brooklyn Park
Advancing Catholic education is avocation
As I reflect on my various jobs, I see a thread throughout all of them: to advance Catholic education. I have had many opportunities to shape Catholic schools as a high school and college teacher, administrator and board member. . . .
In my current role as president of the Catholic Community Foundation, I am pleased to continue this effort through our significant grant-making in support of Catholic schools. Nearly 9,000 students in archdiocesan elementary and high schools have received tuition aid from the Catholic Community Foundation. Many of these children could not have experienced the benefits of Catholic education without that support. In reflecting on my career, I find this definition describes it well: A vocation is where your deep gladness meets a world’s deep need. I’m so blessed to live this every day in my professional life.
Catholic Community Foundation president
Special needs students inspire special ed teacher
I consider my career choice a calling. I have worked with special needs students in the junior high school at St. Louis Park School District No. 283 for about 14 years. . . . Currently, I work as a para-professional. Throughout the years I have discovered that this career move was more than a job. It was a calling. I did not choose it, it was chosen for me. I show up for work every day, and I end up getting more joy from my students than they get from me. Every day is a new day. The students say the funniest things, and, above all else, they are much smarter than we are.
Holy Family, St. Louis Park
Sacred Heart, Robbinsdale