From an older seminarian: “Hey! Don’t forget us!”

From seminarian… and elderly seminarian… o{];¬)

Howdy Father!  [Fine!  Thanks for asking.]
I have been personally following your BLOG for a few weeks now, although many of my Brothers have mentioned you before. I find your BLOG informative and many times I am in agreement with you. [Not always?!?  Tisk.] I read quite often of your remarks regarding “young seminiarians” who are faithful to the Church and will hopefully continue and insprire an authentic renewal of our Church, especially here in the USA. Please do not forget that there are many “late” vocations who fit that description. I am 45 and, God-willing, will be ordained to the Sacred Priesthood within the next two years. I am a faithful Roman Catholic and fit the “traditional” label, but am unapologetic about it. Yet, while my “traditional” presence in my Congregation was “unexpected and questioned” I have persevered and gained “accepted” through the grace of God. So, don’t forget us who are “silently” making a difference through determined prayer and faithfulness to Him who is Everthing, through Her whom I simply desire to imitate. Please know you and your ministry are always in our prayers!
God love you!

Thanks for the reminder, and you are absolutely right.  I have been a priest for 20 years now, but I too was a later vocation.  Not as late as you are, mind you, but I wasn’t ordained until I was 31.  I think more and more later vocations are coming to the fore now that things seem to be settling down.

So, thanks to the men who are answering vocations later in life.  You bring a lot of life experience into a your roles in the Church.

BTW… for those who were wondering, if I am not mistaken “Howdy!”, even with an exclamation point,  is still a question: “How do you do?”  I don’t doubt that some Texans will soon be around to explain the situations to this Yank.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Howdy!

    Yes Father, you are correct. The word ‘Howdy’ does properly indicate the question ‘How do you do?’. Yet, similar to the question “How are you doing?” when used has a greeting has lost its interogative sense even thought it is answered by some variation of the word ‘good’ (in fact a positive response is expected in this contemporary usage of the phrase) . Instead ‘Howdy’ is generally used as an imperative type greeting. It could be said that ‘Howdy’ is the proper Texan translation of ‘Salve’.

    As an aside, it is the traditional (and official) greeting for Texas Aggies around the world.

  2. jjfxg says:

    i use howdy, but i’m from the (rural) north. perhaps this warrants a poll?

  3. Tom says:

    My recommendation is that you just go with it. My voice teacher refers to me as a “young student”, not because I’m young in years, but am relatively new as a voice student. I let her call me a young student all she wants to!

  4. AnAmericanMother says:

    Same problem in the retrieving world. I am one of the flight managers for our club for the “young dogs”, which I always explain to inquirers doesn’t mean just pups, but also older dogs that are new to the game of retriever training, even if they are two or three (or six, as my oldest dog was when I discovered this game).
    And “flight” doesn’t mean that the dogs fly . . . although most of them firmly believe that they CAN –

  5. ghp95134 says:

    Our new associate priest, Fr. Samuel Leonard, IVE, was ordained 7 years ago when he was 70!

    The IVE is a very “Say the Black, Do the Red” Order of priests. Perhaps older prospects to the Vocation could contact the IVE if they cannot find acceptance at other seminaries.

    From the IVE website (Vocations tab):
    “We are a faithful [emphasis original] order—deeply committed to the Church and Her Magisterium—and we recognize that this means our men need to be Catholic in every aspect of their lives. It means that we need to be fully in accord with the Church in our philosophical understanding and in our theological formation. It means that we desire to have a truly Catholic zeal in our missionary activity, and that we really believe in the necessity of bringing the Catholic Church to people and places who don’t know Her—the missionary mandate. It likewise means that we have a deep desire to imitate Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, and so to be immolated—totally consumed—for love of Him. It means that we have a profound devotion to his Real Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist, and that we have a deep filial devotion to Our Blessed Mother (indeed, we all consecrate ouselves to her according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort). ”

    FAQ page:
    FAQ 24: What is the cut-off age for acceptance into the IVE?
    “There isn’t one, as such. We make a determination on an individual basis of whether we think someone is called to the priesthood and would be a good fit with the charism of our Institute, and then give it a shot. Certainly older vocations need to have great humility to work on an equal footing with much younger men, and to embrace the challenging way of life that our seminarians and priests live, but all things are possible with God…”

    FAQ 15: Does your order only celebrate the Novus Ordo mass?
    “Generally speaking we celebrate the Novus Ordo, always taking great care to do so with the reverence and solemnity due to the Eucharist. However, some of our priests certainly celebrate the forma extraordinaria / “Tridentine” mass, and more are interested in doing so after the release of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Of course, it is also significant to note that like the Church itself, we “breathe with both lungs”-both Western and Eastern. That is, we work in a number of countries where the liturgy is not in the Latin rite at all, and so in Egypt we also celebrate the Coptic rite, in Ukraine we celebrate the Byzantine rite, etc.”

    Oh … and they learn Latin for three years in the seminary! See FAQ 10.

  6. Luvadoxi says:

    I’m from Texas and didn’t even realize that “Howdy” was a variation of “how do you do?” Makes sense. But I always took it to mean just “hello”, so that when you responded “Fine, thanks for asking” I wondered if you were being sarcastic (sorry, Father! Many wars and schisms started due to miscommunications and language barriers). But I have a story–when I married and moved to Georgia, I was greeted with “Hey!” My first response was to respond, “What?”, thinking that was a particularly rude way of trying to get someone’s attention. But it simply means a friendly Southern “hello”, like “howdy”! Live and learn.

  7. jfm says:

    Is there a list of orders who would entertain the prospect of a vocation of an older man (say, late 40s) to the priesthood?
    It has something which has been more recently in the back of my mind, but in preliminary inquiries to the diocese and two other orders, I was told that 40 is the absolute oldest cutoff point.
    And I had 4 years of Latin in high school — I assume the language hasn’t changed that much ;)

  8. Margaret says:

    Just to second ghp’s comments– the IVE are a terrific, vibrantly orthodox order of priests. They give great catechesis during their homilies, amongst other things.

    They also have a sister order of nuns, who are equally orthodox, super-cheerful and friendly, and wear full habits. My kids adore them as CCD teachers.

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