I knew it would happen. That terrible, fateful day on which the magazine of Fraternity and Mission asks me to write the story of my vocation has arrived. But how could I possibly tell my story? According to what little I have learned, vocation is not exhausted in single moments and days but indicates the relationship between God and man. How could I possibly recount a relationship that began in Padova 32 years ago and is still only at the beginning? And there is another great question: why did God choose me for the road of priesthood in the Fraternity of St. Charles? I guess you’d need to ask Him, since He took the first step. I have two older brothers, the first of whom is married with three children and the second of whom belongs to the Memores Domini. Why did God want it this way and not the opposite? Why these different paths? I don’t know the reason for my vocation but I do know that He wanted me and He wanted me to be here.
I know it because He had me be born into a family in which my parents transmitted to me not just my very life but also the faith. And I have to admit that they did a good job. More in their actions than with their words and with the goal to live their own faith more so than to transmit it to their children.
From the time I was young, He placed me beside the discreet presence of a priest in whom I would eventually confide, once I had grown, telling him about my intuition of a vocation. He was a simple priest, with his feet well planted on the rock of the faith. Just to give you a glimpse of who he was: he died a couple of years ago, after 67 years of priesthood spent all in the same parish because there were not many persons who had wanted to go there.
Despite the fact that I was never an atheist, I, nevertheless, had to rediscover for myself the truth of what I had been handed down. In this way, after five years of high school in which my only interest had been sports – and the Lord, although present, had been reduced to a few prayers and to Mass on Sundays – I discovered that sports, even as beautiful as they are, could not make me happy. I began to frequent the CLU, knowing that I belonged to that place, even if something was still missing. What that missing thing was became apparent during breakfast at a summer vacation I attended after my first year of university. The day before, together with a few other guys, I had helped a disabled girl to go on a hike in the mountains. The priest that was accompanying us was seated near me at breakfast and said to me: “What the Lord did yesterday with you all and that girl, was truly great!” I, personally, had not seen the Lord there, but, as I thought more about it, I began to see that this priest was right. I understood that the Lord did not only have to do with prayer and the Mass but He had to do with my whole life. And so I understood what was missing. From there, I discovered a companionship with whom I could share everything: studies, meals, free time, vacation. And in the midst of all of this, I read Above All, Men, a book which tells the stories of a few priests of the Fraternity of St. Charles, and a thought came to me: “I would also like a life like this.”
My last step before entering the seminary brought me to work in England, where I discovered that what I had met and known in Italy would never have abandoned me. And so, from England with a layover in Rome, I ended up in Chile.
Stefano Peruzzo, 32 years old, from Padova, is on mission in San Bernardo, in Chile. Pictured, his joy after his priestly ordination, June 2021.