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Throughout my life, any time I had a thought about becoming a priest it probably lasted no longer than 30 seconds. I always thought I would graduate college, go to law school, become an attorney and one day get married and have kids. My thoughts on becoming a priest all changed when I attended a church camp in the summer of 2017.
We were having adoration and I fell asleep. I’m not sure how much time passed but all of a sudden I woke up and was flooded with all these thoughts about becoming a priest. Suddenly everything was falling into place, the more I thought about it the more it all made sense. That night I was so joyful; I believe my heart was overpowered by God and the Holy Spirit.
The next week two seminarians at the time, John Marconi and Joe Friend, happened to be at my parish for summer evangelization. Joe called his uncle, Msgr. Scott Friend, a day or two after, and we set up a meeting for that weekend to converse about my discernment to the priesthood. It has now been two years since that first conversation with Msgr. Friend and I have grown more than I could have ever imagined in that period.
I can remember my first semester in the seminary being tough for me grade-wise but Monsignor encouraged me to do the best I could. Since then I have realized that nothing in my life functions correctly if I am not spending time with the Lord. That first semester in the seminary taught me a very important lesson: That my spirituality is not just a part of my life but it is rather the hub that holds everything together. This realization has helped me to grow in my faith more than I could have ever imagined and as a result has enhanced the other aspects of my life.
Another important part of my story is the time I was fortunate enough to have in Cuernavaca (city south of Mexico City). There my family taught me lessons I will never forget. One that I would like to share was taught by one of my sisters. One day I was saying how much I was going to miss Mexico when I left because the family life there is so incredibly strong. I realized that after just a couple of weeks I already felt like part of the family.
My sister told me to imagine what it must be like for the people who emigrate from Mexico to the U.S. She pointed out that for many it is out of necessity. She said that is why she thinks it is so important for us to learn the culture, to be able to make those who are here out of necessity feel at home. This conversation had a huge impact on me and it is something I will never forget as I continue to serve for the Diocese of Little Rock.
I recently finished my first year of theology, where the Lord has taught me much about myself and my relationship with him. In the seminary it is incredibly easy to focus too much on studies which can often negatively impact your relationship with the Lord. One of my professors at Assumption told us that if we are studying without maintaining our relationship with the Lord through prayer then we are simply wasting our time.
The most important thing I learned in my first year of seminary was that I cannot trade my time with the Lord for time with books. The Lord further demonstrated to me the importance of this time with him during my time serving at St. Mary Parish in Batesville. The time with the Lord at the end of the day is indispensable; to visit our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is such a fantastic blessing. The Lord has helped me see my weaknesses in ministry and he gives me the grace to continue on the Christian path.
I have learned many lessons in my short time in the seminary and I would just like to ask for your continued prayers and I extend my most sincere gratitude.
If you wish to contact Cody Eveld, please e-mail Georgina Pena in the Vocations Office or call her at (501) 664-0340. This article was published Oct. 8, 2021. Copyright Diocese of Little Rock. All rights reserved. This article may be copied or redistributed with acknowledgement and permission of the publisher.