On Friday, June 24, at Our Lady of Defense Church, Frank Scalia will be ordained a priest for the diocese of Montreal. In anticipation of his upcoming ordination, the future priest answers some questions about himself and his vocation.
How do you live out your encounter with the Lord?
My encounter with the Lord is best lived out via a life of prayer thgat is constant and dynamic.. This doesn't necessarily mean that I would have to constantly be in a state of vocal prayer, as such, but it rather implies bearing within me a whole spirit of prayer the whole day long.. For mei, it means remaining conscious of the fact that I am living my day in the Presence of the Lord, knowing that He accompanies me at each instant, and this gives me the grace and the capacity to live more in a spirit of thanksgiving and to make of my actions and of my work, even, acts of prayer in themselves in praise of Him.
At what age or at what moment did the question of a priestly vocation come about?
The answer to this is worth a whole life's story! However, in order to be brief, let us suffice it to say that I first became conscious of a calling to follow the Lord as a priest at the young age of 14, about a year to the day after having received my Sacrament of Confirmation. Since that time, it has been a long journey of discernment and growth which has brought me to deepen my relationship of faith and love with the Lord. The day finally came, when in 2008, I made the leap of faith and entered into formation at the Grand Séminaire de Montréal, and it's been something I have never regretted!
Have you ever had any remarkable moments during your years of formation in the Seminary or pastoral internship?
My time as a seminarian has been an adventure in the truest sense of the word! It has been characterized by many moments of spiritual growth and human maturing. My relationship with the Lord has, as a consequence, greatly deepened and it has helped me to discover all that the Lord has wanted to give me as well as all that He is asking me to do for Him! I have often noticed that the Lord has helped me to discover His Will for me, particularly by means of the many interactions I have had with my fellow confrères and friends, my superiors and formators, as well as through the many wonderful experiences I have had with the parishioners who were at the parishes I was sent to on internship.
What attracts you to priestly ministry? What have you discovered?
That which I have noticed in my vocation as a future-priest is that I find myself very much drawn by a sense of wanting to transmit the heritage of the Faith which was given to me, from the moment of my own Baptism. I rejoice in the fact of having been placed in a unique situation where I can be an instrument of the Lord, inasmuch as I am His ordained minister, so as to be able to help to provide sacramental experiences together with the people of God, those privileged and precious moments when the people can encounter their God in the Sacrament of the Church! For me, it is a real blessing and a great source of grace and joy!
What phrase have you chosen as a theme for your ordination?
The phrase which I have chosen for my ordination reflects very well the way in which I desire to undertake my priestly ministry - "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to answer everyone who asks of you to render an account for that hope that is within you." (1 Peter 3:15) The evangelizing drive that I find in this verse, when lived and inspired by Christian hope, describes very well, I believe, the approach that I feel called to pursue.
What is a good priest for today?
For me, a good priest is one who knows how to confide himself into the hands of Divine Providence and one who maintains a constant and living faith life, so as to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone with integrity, conviction, and courage. He is one who is characterized by a joyful spirit, a good sense of understanding towards others, and an appreciation for being patient and respectful towards others in their own respective faith journeys in which they find themselves. For me, this is what it means to be a good shepherd - to serve the Lord with fidelity as well as with joy!
Is the priesthood a road that leads to happiness?
Tje life of a priest is certainly one that is happy, since the priest is blessed with a perspective that is particularly unique, in that he is in a position to see how the Lord acts in people's lives, especially when it concerns the interaction of the faith community that is the Church. This helps the priest to be more aware that the Lord is always in the midst of doing great things for His people, because He loves us and He wants us all to be with Him always. There can be no greater consolation to render us happy!