On May 15, 2010, Mike Rapp was one of five young men ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Charles Chaput, and one of four whose vocations were fostered at St. Thomas More. He was also one of two (the other was David Nix) whose fathers work in the parish office). The other two – Jose Quera and John Green are members of the Neocatechumenal Way community at St. Thomas More.
A graduate of St. Thomas More Parish School, Mike was among 147 nominated by fellow parishioners in 2002 as one who might have a vocation to the priesthood. Today, after many, many prayers and support from his family, friends and parishioners Father Mike is serving as parochial vicar at St. Michael’s Parish in Craig, Colorado.
Of those nominated in 2002, several others answered God’s call to serve in God’s vineyard. Of course, as Matthew 22:14 says, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Ronny O’Dwyer and Patrick Reidy were among the few chosen and are still in their priestly formation. In his seventh year of Jesuit formation, Ronny already has earned master’s degrees in philosophy and Catholic educational administration. Patrick, on the other hand, earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Notre Dame in 2008, and is entering his fourth year in priestly formation with the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
Today, eight other seminarians and novices are in the archdiocesan seminary or novitiate of various religious orders. God willing, they will be joining the 15 priests, 10 deacons, three sisters and one brother whose vocations were fostered at St. Thomas More. Only one of the 18 priests and seven of the 10 deacons are serving at St. Thomas More. All others are serving elsewhere, even as far away as Kazakhstan.
Created in 1971, St. Thomas More Parish is blessed to be able to send young men and women to work in God’s vineyard. Yet we continue to pray and call people by name, because as Luke 10:2 says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
Using the excellent “Called by Name” program, our annual Stewardship of Vocations weekend in November asks parishioners to nominate someone whom they think might have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. This program evolved from a Serra Club vocations program entitled “I’m waiting to be asked.” Yes, young men and women, even those with late vocations, are waiting to be asked.
Thus, at St. Thomas More, we provide that opportunity to ask. During our annual Stewardship of Vocations weekend the entire community shares in identifying potential candidates to the priesthood and religious life. Remember what Jesus did. He identified and “called by name” the people who became his disciples, saying “Come, follow me.” We can’t beat that model.