I went through twelve years of Catholic schooling but after I graduated from high school I lost all interest in the Church. I still tried to do good works and to do my part to make the world a better place, but my belief in God and the value of religion was limited. Many years later, it began to dawn on me that maybe there was more to God after all and I decided to take another look at the faith I was raised in. I reasoned that if God truly existed, the Catholic Church and the Sacraments would be the best way to unite with Him. Returning to the Sacraments would allow me to be available to God’s transforming power in the world. I finally made my confession after a thirteen year absence from the Church and began to attend Mass daily.
I used to help my brother who was a parish priest and I assisted him in his various ministries. One day when we were driving, I noticed a picture of a saint that he had placed near the dashboard of his car. I did not know who the saint was, but the moment I looked at the picture, I started to cry. My brother told me that it was a picture of Padre Pio. I had never heard of him as I had been away from the Church for a long time.
It dawned on me at that very moment that I had not made my way back to my Catholic faith on my own like I had assumed. I had alot of arrogance which was an obstacle in my path but I couldn’t see it at the time. When I saw the picture of Padre Pio, I had the deep conviction that it was he who had helped me in my conversion and that he had been praying and interceding for me.
More than 15 years later I entered the seminary. In 2006, after studying in the seminary for six years, I became a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and I now serve in the city of Pasadena.
– Father Paul Griesgraber