Never say No

«How did you become a priest? …» children often ask me.

Well, I think God sent me a first hint when I was about seven or eight years old. The school master (a diocesan priest) had shown us a movie: «Marcelino, pan y vino». The story of a baby abandoned at the door of a Monastery, whom the monks would raise in their midst. From the film, my boyish mind deduced this: «When you give yourself entirely to God (like the monks, who baked bread and kept ducks and goats, a thing I wished I could do) you are really free!»

A few days later, when our school teacher asked us about our wishes for our future, I secretly wrote on the little piece of paper: «I shall be a monk». And forgot all about it.

Years later, as I sat by my father at the Sunday mass, I heard the priest preach about the need for vocations. His words felt like darts aimed at my heart. I went red in the face, I was scared (*) and only hoped my father did not notice my blushing. He did not.

Many years went past. While I was at the University, a Benedictine monk embarked me on a trip to the Holy Land. One day, as we were walking by the Jordan, he asked me to read the passage of Joshua 3, 13: «as soon as the feet of the priests touched the waters…» I did not pay much attention to it, until one of the pilgrims had a nod and a wink at me…

Years later, as I was kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, onboard the «Péniche» of the Emmanuel Community, I could hear the gentle ‘clap-clop’ of the river Seine under the hull of the old barge. My wandering mind was wondering: «but what on earth have you come here for?…» Then it seemed to me that Jesus’ face from the Shroud, which was on the tabernacle, came answering my question, quietly whispering: «You have been wandering around; but, IF you wish, come to Me, now!»

I was stunned. I felt like a straw carried away by the stream. And the image of Mary in her home, said: «Fiat!»

It was just as simple as that.

Fr. Dominique+ (NY)

(*) It took me some time to understand that I had reasons to be scared…


  1. Michael Chalian
    April 30, 2018    

    A beautiful memory and a wonderful encouragement to listen to God’s calling.

  2. Rosemary
    May 1, 2018    

    Thank you dear Father Dominique for answering yes to this call to freedom!

  3. Rachel
    May 1, 2018    

    Thank you for sharing this Father Dominique and saying Yes to the Lord!

  4. Marcella Smith
    May 2, 2018    

    What a beautiful story of a beautiful vocation and written by a beautiful priest – may God continue to bless you and subsequently all of us through the gift of your priesthood !

  5. Susan Evangelista
    May 2, 2018    

    Truly humbling story! I will continue to pray for you and all priests! Thank you for sharing this story. I look forward to your masses, they are beautifully said and your love for Our Lord is present. Thank you for your service!

  6. JoAnn Russo
    May 2, 2018    

    Dear Father Dominique:

    I feel honored that I was included among those you chose to share your vocation story. Just as obvious as it was to that pilgrim who nodded and winked, it is apparent to all of us that you are the epitomy of what a priest should be, and that you are where you belong. We are fortunate to have you! Thank you for all you do for all of us in this community. We love you.

  7. May 3, 2018    

    Such a good reminder – to stay faithful and in tuned for the Holy Spirit and his work in us. Never know what’s next God’s brilliant idea:) Thanks for sharing fr. Dominique!

  8. Aly Fanelli
    May 3, 2018    

    Such a beautiful story!. We are so gratefully blessed, with you, guiding our ever evolving, faith-filled journey, & are humbled by your presence in our lives everyday.

  9. Leila
    June 15, 2018    

    A beautiful story of a “yes” to God. Thank you for sharing it and thank you for the priest you are. We are so very blessed by your priesthood- by your spirit, your humor, the joy you radiate, and most especially by how you celebrate the Mass . May God continue to bless you and your ministry.


  10. Juan
    June 28, 2018    

    Thank you for sharing this testimony, Father and for your yes to the Lord. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord blesses those who seek Him!

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