Local priest’s vocation story featured in international publication
SPRINGFIELD – Father Ryan Rooney, parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Parish in Holyoke, shared his vocation story with Catholics around the world recently as he wrote about his road to ordination for the Diocese of Springfield.
Father Rooney’s personal story was featured in the September-October issue of Serra Connects, the publication of Serra International (Serra), the global lay apostolate for vocations in the Catholic Church.
Writing about being a 17-year-old, Father Rooney said, he was an “idealistic teen, just starting to figure out college plans, and getting as much extracurricular activity in as possible.”
When a commitment to those extracurricular activities prevented him from traveling to World Youth Day in Toronto, the young future priest was discouraged because he longed to see Pope John Paul II in person. “When I saw the iconic meeting of the late pontiff with the world’s youth, the suffering he endured just to be there, I thought, will I ever get the chance to see him?” Father Rooney wrote. “I was enamored then with the great example of this holy man.”
(Iobserve file photo)
A few years later, he was able to travel to Rome on Easter Sunday and get a glimpse of Pope John Paul II.
Father Rooney also spoke of his bout with cancer as a senior in high school. “I thought, Lord, I think You’ve been calling me to the priesthood for four years now. If You want me to be a priest, I know You will take care of this. Four months of chemotherapy and two weeks of radiation later, I was in remission.”
Father Rooney was ordained by Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell in St. Michael’s Cathedral in June of 2011. “God took care of my cancer so that I could be a priest,” Father Rooney wrote.
To read the full text of Father Rooney's reflection and for more information about Serra, which is formally recognized by the Holy See, log on to Serra.org.