Fr. Michael Callea, MIC

Administrator at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii Parish
Kenosha, Wisconsin

Michael Callea
What started in a cornfield in Illinois several years ago finally came to fruition on May 18, 2002, in the sanctuary of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. Not a bumper crop of corn, mind you, but my ordination to the sacred priesthood and then my first Mass the following day!

I can still remember kneeling in that Illinois cornfield on April 16,1989, reflecting on my vocation. There, I said "yes" to God's call to the priesthood and the religious life. It was shortly before I graduated in computer science from Northern Illinois University. I had been wrestling with the decision since my sophomore year in college, but it was on this particular day that I finally received the graces I needed to overcome my fears and embrace God's will for my life. What joy I experienced when I discovered that April 16 had been designated by our Holy Father as the "World Day of Prayer for Vocations" for that year!

Then, on May 18, 2002, in a sacred place dedicated to The Divine Mercy, I was ordained a priest.

At my ordination, I asked for the special grace of holy love from Our Lady. I carried other intentions close to my heart as well — including a prayer for the recovery of a little girl who had recently been hit by a car. She had suffered serious head injuries. At a prayer service for her recovery, I had received a purple ribbon. So, during my ordination, I wore it underneath my cassock — close to my heart — to signify my various intentions. What joy I experienced when, a few days later, I learned that the little girl was expected to recover fully from her injuries!

In my pastoral ministry as a priest, I strive to carry all God's people close to my heart. I serve as parochial vicar of St. Patrick's in Yorkville, Ill. I also look forward to celebrating Holy Mass and hearing confessions for those in my care.

As I look back on my vocation — from a cornfield to the altar — I pray that I will always minister out of love for God and His people. May my ministry bear lasting fruit for the kingdom of God.