Serra Club of North Columbus, Vocation Luncheon for Boys, Meeting Presentation Transcript, Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Fr. Ed Shikina provided the following presentation at the annual Vocation Luncheon for Boys, sponsored by the Serra Club of North Columbus. The luncheon was supported by a grant from the Catholic Foundation.
Fr. Shikina was introduced as parochial vicar for St. Brendan the Navigator, generating applause and cheering from the students representing St. Brendan’s. Fr. Shikina recognized Fr. Paul Noble, Director of Vocations for the diocese of Columbus. Fr. Noble indicated he was available to discuss vocations with the boys. Fr. Noble’s business cards, with his contact information, were available at each of the tables. In addition, he indicated that more information can be found at www.seekholiness.com. Fr. Shikina indicated that Fr. Noble helped him to grow during his years in the seminary.
Fr. Shikina began with a prayer that God would provide guidance and inspiration to the young men so that they would be open to the call to the priesthood and respond with courage and peace in their hearts. Fr. Shikina emphasized that the National Vocation Awareness Week (November 3-9) is not supposed to make young people nervous about being pressured to enter the priesthood or religious life. The purpose is to provide inspiration and encouragement.
Summary of Fr. Shikina’s Vocation Journey
Fr. Shikina provided a summary of his vocation journey. He felt that he had a later vocation, entering the seminary when he was older and taking eight years for priestly formation. He was nervous early on and took a while to begin to think seriously about the priesthood.
Story of Father Fabian from Kenya
Fr. Shikina told a story about Fr. Fabian from Kenya, who was at St. Brendan’s for a while. Fr. Fabian at first did not identify with the white priests who were missionaries in his country. It was only after seeing one of the white priests urinate on the side of the road that Fr. Fabian realized that these priests were human—“regular people.” Fr. Fabian realized he had things in common with the priests and started thinking about becoming a priest
Fr. Shikina’s Background
Fr. Shikina shared that his own parents were from Japan and came to the United States. He has two older sisters and a younger brother, who were all brought up in the U.S. They all attended Mass every week; however, they did not talk about their faith at home, and he had a limited prayer life.
Student Life at The Ohio State University
After Fr. Shikina graduated from high school, he enrolled at The Ohio State University. He realized he no longer felt compelled to go to Mass. He became involved in the OSU marching band (trumpet), a fraternity, and several bad habits, including drinking and skipping classes. He ended up flunking out of OSU.
Life in the Work Force
After dropping out of college, he started working full-time in a retail store (small paper distribution company), eventually being promoted to the manager of the store at age 22.
By age 24, he wondered what he was doing with his life. He felt that his job was a dead-end job, and he wanted more from life. He went to Mass for the first time in years and had a conversion experience. He felt God’s love. He wanted God to tell him what to do. He started going to Mass every week and praying to God.
Initial Consideration of the Priesthood
Within two months, he received a brochure in the mail from Our Lady of Miraculous Medal that asked, “Have you ever considered becoming a priest?” He moved back home for one year and told his parents he was thinking about becoming a priest. It still took some time before he was sure. He did, however, become more involved in his parish.
In the meantime, he had a number of jobs—lumber sales, forklift driver, and IT helpdesk technician.
He continued to study his faith. He also felt inspired by his parents. In 2008, they retired and joined the Peace Corps. The served the poor in Ukraine for two years. He felt that he was only living for himself at the time, rather than serving others.
Pontifical College Josephinum
After ten years of working and thinking about the priesthood, Fr. Shikina finally felt ready to become a priest. He contacted Fr. Noble. He enrolled at the Pontifical College Josephinum in 2010 at age 34. He wanted to serve God by helping others know him.
He entered as a freshman and took four years to earn his bachelor’s degree in philosophy (2010-14).
Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary
He then entered Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary for theology in Boston (recommended for “older” men) and continued to learn about the four pillars of formation—human, pastoral, spiritual, and intellectual.
He became a priest in 2018. He is currently parochial vicar at St. Brendan the Navigator parish.
Priests and Superheroes
Fr. Shikina asked the participants “Who likes sports?” That generated some enthusiasm. He explained that people are inspired by the heroic actions of sports heroes to work harder at sports.
He provided examples of superheroes who started as ordinary people, such as Batman and Captain America. The thing they had in common was that they fought for good and against evil.
Fr. Shikina took some time to go into the conversation between Frodo and Sam at the end of the second Lord of the Rings movie, The Two Towers. The point of the conversation was that, in spite of the darkness in this world, people continue to fight because the good in this world is worth fighting for.
He compared superheroes to priests. They are both trying to be and do something remarkable.
Video: Fishers of Men
Fr. Shikina showed the movie, Fishers of Men (Grassroots Films), a film developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Vocations. The film is intended to renew priests’ sense of fulfillment in their vocation and to encourage them to draw on that satisfaction to invite other men to pursue the priesthood.
Fr. Shikina mentioned that the film inspired him in 2008 to think seriously about becoming a priest. The program materials are available in PDF format, and a set of discussion questions have also been developed for use with the film.
The takeaway message of the film, in a nutshell, is “Be Someone remarkable. Do something remarkable.”
Some additional inspirational quotes from the movie include:
- Lay down our lives so others may have life.
- It’s not natural to be a priest. It’s supernatural!
- A vocation to the priesthood is counter-cultural.
- Who will give the sacraments for the next generation?
- We grow in silence. Our inner ears must be open to hear God.
- The Catholic Church is an instrument for the change the world needs today.
- Come follow me. Do not be afraid.
- John Paul II is a model for priests.
- Priests are central to all the important moments in life: Baptism, consecration, marriage, and death.
- The priest brings the soul home to God.
- The priest is a father to people.
- You are the face of Christ.
- Like Christ, priests lay down their lives for others.
- The priesthood is for real men. You must be tough if you want to be a priest.
Fr. Shikina concluded that he welcomes questions from the boys and that they can find additional information by contacting him, Fr. Noble, or going to the website: www.seekholiness.com