MEET FR. MATT
Lived on the same street all my life (Dearbourne Blvd in Brampton). My family moved once, and it was down the street!
Favourite food: Pho with a side of rice
I’ve got a rather poor sense of direction (I likely hold the record for the most U-Turns in a single trip.)
It was since the 9th grade since having (much/any) hair.
Got a C+ on my first seminary assignment (that says more about my ability as a student, rather than the difficulty of the course!)
Call to serve begins with Lord’s guidance
BY PAULA DUCEPEC, CATHOLIC REGISTER SPECIAL
October 3, 2020
Fr. Matthew McCarthy will take the cue from the Lord Himself for his guiding principles as he begins his journey as director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Toronto.
“I am hoping that my commitment to prayer and intimacy with God the Father will bear much fruit,” said McCarthy.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, he hopes to assist those contemplating their vocation to listen to what and how the Spirit moves them.
“My hope then is to learn how to journey with individuals and have them come to a personal knowledge of God’s love and the specific mission He’s chosen for them,” said McCarthy, a Brampton, Ont., native who was ordained to the priesthood in 2017.
“I think it’s crucial, then, for me to ‘direct’ others towards having a lively and ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit. Specifically, this means having individuals commit themselves to live a consistent prayer and sacramental life, as well as develop the interior freedom to go wherever the Holy Spirit leads.”
Working with archdiocesan youth groups, he wants to be able to help individuals honestly ask the question, “Lord, are you calling me to the priesthood or religious life?”
“In other words, to get them thinking that priesthood or religious life is a legitimate and fulfilling vocation — one that each serious Catholic should consider at some point,” he said.
The 33-year-old McCarthy says he is more than ready to take up this position he inherits from Fr. Chris Lemieux. He considers his familiarity with the people of the archdiocese and the cultural climate as one of his major strengths.
“I grew up in Brampton and was involved in various ministries throughout the diocese. Being on the younger end of the clergy spectrum, I think my familiarity with the world of social media — although by no means extensive — can be a tool in helping others discover their vocation.”
Day-to-day activities for McCarthy will depend on the time of year and the diocese’s needs. Some of the ways he will serve include celebrating Mass, counselling individuals who are inquiring about vocations, helming retreats and vocation programs and conducting outreach visits to parishes, schools and chaplaincies.
Helping individuals discern a call to the priesthood or religious life is a key responsibility. McCarthy and his team will offer vocation-related retreats and programs such as the Come-and-See weekend at St. Augustine’s Seminary.
Those discerning a call to religious life will also learn how to enrich their prayer life.
“It’s true that we can pray to God in all times and places, but if you’re serious about having an authentic connection with the Lord, go to where He shows up,” said McCarthy.
“Every tabernacle contains the presence of the same Christ who called the first apostles. It’s no wonder why many vocations were ‘figured out’ in the context of Mass or silent prayer before Christ’s presence in the tabernacle. He is ready and waiting to speak to you there.”
McCarthy understands he has big shoes to fill, taking over from Lemieux and his other predecessors who have helped shape vocations in the archdiocese. He hopes he can exhibit their dedication in accompanying individuals’ spiritual journey and, most of all, their love of the Lord and His people.