We give thanks to almighty God, and to you, for having supported our Dominican vocations through your prayer and donations. You have helped make our newest priest possible! Fr. Joseph Selinger, O.P. hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, being ordained with two other fine young men for our Province on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Here, he shares his personal experience of the Rosary.
When I was around 11 years old, I was baptized and became a Christian. My father was raised Catholic but fell away when he was a young man. My grandfather, a very devout Catholic, encouraged my father to have me baptized, but it was not until after my grandfather’s death that my father returned to the Catholic faith and had me baptized.
My beginning in the Christian life came out of nowhere. One day, completely out of the blue, my parents told me that I would be baptized, and I remember strongly protesting and crying. My only contact with Christianity at that time was through the television show The Simpsons, and I thought that my parents wanted me to be like the children of the character Ned Flanders—naïve and a “goodie goodie,” not having any grit, but ridiculously passive and sheltered.
What changed my mind was seeing how much it meant to my parents. I could intuitively see that having me baptized was not like anything else they wanted me to do—there was something more intimate and personal about it for them. I trusted my parents, and thought that, if this is how they feel about the whole ordeal, it is probably for my benefit. So, I stopped my protest and was baptized.
As so often happens today, I fell away from the Catholic faith in my mid-teens. At the time, I thought that the Catholic faith was an obstacle to enjoying life and living it to the fullest, containing arbitrary rules that were at the expense of my happiness. I always had faith—I would have professed the Creed if you asked me to, but I generally cared little about religion.
In my late teens something changed. I never encountered an inspiring youth pastor or inspiring priest. I never went to a youth retreat and went away “set on fire” with the Spirit. What I experienced was a sudden influx of divine grace that seemed to come out of nowhere without warning. To this day it is one of two truly mystical experiences of my life. The other experience was more recently during my ordination, when the hands of the bishop came down on my head—my entire world changed in an instant in a complete and indescribable way. I am not prone to such religious experiences or an overactive imagination and generally not charismatic by natural disposition. So, when I say that it was a mystical experience, I am not a person who exaggerates—I have a strong skeptical disposition to such things.
After my world was turned upside down in my late teens, my thoughts were the following: if I am going to be Catholic, if I am going to dedicate my life to God and the Church, then I am not going half-way. My attitude was and still is: go big or go home. So, I decided to go big and devour as much information about the Catholic faith as possible.
I knew as a Catholic I should pray the Rosary. I was instructed on how to pray it when I was in my first series of catechism classes after my baptism, but I forgot how to do it. So, I did what any teenager my age would do—I looked on the Internet.
I found a website with all the information on how to pray the Rosary. What was this website? It was the website of our Rosary Center. I owe the Rosary Center my devotion to the Most Holy Rosary, a devotion that nourished my spiritual life and led to my priestly vocation.
I am a fruit of the Rosary Center—a fruit of all your prayers and tireless work. I pray that this Holy Rosary, which I learned to pray from our ministry, will obtain for me the graces to be a good priest for the people of Holy Rosary Parish.