Ordenaciones Sacerdotales 2024

Christopher Daniels, LC

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, in a great family. My mom showed me the value of the faith, and of cleaning my room, my dad taught me the value work, and how to tell a good story, with plenty of exaggeration, my sister Chelsea pulled me out of the world of books into the world of dancing and friends and my oldest sister, Angela, showed me the importance of laughing and loving life. 

My parents sent me to Pinecrest Academy from kindergarten through high school, where I met the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. I had a blast there, and enjoyed it to the full.  

The thought of being a priest crossed my mind several times in high school, but I would always brush it off and explain it away, like, “I just want to give talks in front of people… you can do that in a lot of vocations” or “I could never be a priest because I…(fill in the blank with sin)”. Really, I was scared of the priesthood and did not want to be a priest, even though there was something there. 

I didn’t face it until it hit me in my coworker year, now known as Regnum Christi Mission Corps. I was living with the Legionaries in San Jose, California, working with ECYD and living a life of grace I never had before. There was mass every day, time to pray with Jesus for a half hour before mass, confession on-demand (one of the perks when you live with priests)… and things started to happen.  

I remember being in the chapel one Friday, praying the stations of the cross by myself, when I came to the 12th station and looked up at the cross. Looking at Jesus, it struck me like it never had before. Christ died for me, he gave up everything for me. Could I do that for him? Could I give up everything for Christ?

My heart started pounding, I started hyperventilating, and it was as if a dark cloud was gathering above my head that said PRIESTHOOD. I had heard the whole, “be generous with God” thing on a lot of retreats, in ECYD and Regnum Christi, but it had never sunk in like that. I realized, all in an instant, what that meant: giving up the girlfriend, my friends, my family, even what I wanted to do, and follow Christ. I was terrified. 

So, I lied to myself. “Sure, I could give up everything for Christ, no problem…” Then I hightailed it out of that chapel and tried to distract myself, I think I even called the girl I was dating.  

I went back and forth for the next year and a half, ended up going out there to give another RCMC year, and at the end realized there was something there that wouldn’t leave me alone, that I had to go check out. So, I went to the candidacy, the summer long come-and-see at the Legion’s seminary in Connecticut. 

When I arrived, I was super mad at God. “Why did you stick me in a seminary?? I gave you two years of my life and all I wanted was a good life and a beautiful wife, and I had the wife picked out! This is not what I wanted!” But when people asked me why I was there if I didn’t want to be, it was clear to me that I had to find out what God’s will was. I wanted to know, even if I didn’t like it.  

So, I stayed, had a great summer, even amidst tremendous interior struggle. At the end of the summer, there was an eight-day silent retreat. In the middle of it the priest, Fr Jason Smith, pulled me out and asked me how I was doing. I don’t know what it was, but all of the sudden it was like there was a sunrise in my soul. I realized right then that I was at peace. I realized that that peace I felt was what I had been looking for all along, that happiness I had been seeking in my relationship, in my friends, in sin, everywhere else, and it was as if Christ just showed me, “Look, I made your heart for me, here, as a Legionary priest.”   

So, I knew that was where I belonged. That was 13 years ago. Life is a rollercoaster, the clouds and storms come back, there are crisis moments, but I have always had that baseline peace, knowing that this is where God wants me.

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