Joe pictured with Fr Tom Uzhunnalil SDB
BOVA volunteer Joe writes about how his experience in India is helping him discern his vocation to the priesthood
For as long as I can remember I have had an inexplicable desire to be a priest. This desire is not something that comes from me, it is not something I want to do; it is something I feel called to do. For a long time, I supressed that calling, instead, aspiring to a more 'normal' life: school, university and married life like a 'normal' person. It was only when faced with the reality of university – looking up courses, visiting campuses, going on open days – that I realised that this really was not what I wanted to do and that I could not happily pursue such a life. And so, having already accepted to study in Derby, I withdrew my application and entered into a 'gap year'.
That gap year has now become two years of 'gap' and I have no regrets. At first, to my mother's dismay, I had no idea what I was planning to do. I knew I wanted to pursue my vocation to enter the priesthood and that I wanted to enter seminary but I felt I wanted more time to discern my calling before making any formal steps. I planned to volunteer with a Catholic organisation as I knew I wanted to spend some time in a religious environment, growing in spirituality and discerning, but also putting into action my faith and doing something proactive. I wanted somewhere far from home, completely outside of my normal life, somewhere I could pursue my faith and vocation unhindered.