While Father Dave normally interviews guests every night on the Busted Halo Show, guest co-host Kathryn Whitaker turns the tables! Kathryn is a Catholic speaker, author, and friend of the show, and Father Dave answers her questions along with ones she crowdsourced from social media.
After a career in media, Father Dave felt called to the priesthood following World Youth Day in 1993. Kathryn wonders about one aspect of his journey and asks, “As you were discerning the priesthood, what was your mom doing? I’m curious to know, how was she loving you through that process?” Father Dave first explains more about his vocation story, saying, “I was 28 years old, I had never thought about priesthood or discerned a call to priesthood before. And yet, I was very involved in church things.” He eventually realized that God was leading him to the Paulist Fathers, since they are a religious order with “some hand in the media.”
However, Father Dave says he waited to tell closer family, like his mother and sister, until he fully discerned if he was called to the priesthood or not. “I openly discerned with a few people, close friends of mine and people in my life that had made a similar decision, like some priests,” he says.
“That began in August of 1993. It was the spring of 1994 when, after investigating religious orders, I decided to sign up with the Paulists. I did not tell my mom until I decided on the Paulists.” He explains that, “It certainly was not because I didn’t think that she would support me, because absolutely she did, and I knew that she would…it just felt like something that was so interior or personal.”
After some questions about Father Dave’s travels, Kathryn next delves into a question about spiritual direction. “I think that a lot of people ask questions about spiritual directors,” She says. “What’s your encouragement to someone who is discerning if they should get one?”
While he notes that not everybody may benefit from a spiritual director, Father Dave says, “They are of great value in a situation where somebody is at a crossroads where there’s a major discernment or decision [to be made],” He also explains that spiritual direction may serve those with certain personality types. “As an extrovert, I process things outside of my body. Meaning it’s coming out of my mouth, or I’m journaling or something like that, not interiorly,” he says. “So for me, one of the benefits of a spiritual director, [similar to] a counselor or a therapist, is that it’s just a regular appointment where I sit and I talk about my relationship with God and my spiritual life that I don’t always talk about.”
Both Kathryn and Father Dave agreed that it’s important to find the right spiritual director, and it is okay to keep looking if you do not think it is a good fit. “This is such a personal one-on-one relationship, even if it’s a short term,” he says. “You’re not hurting anybody’s feelings if this person that you decided to try out, you’re just not clicking with.”