Ordenaciones Sacerdotales


Thomas White, LC

I was born in New Orleans to a large Catholic family. I am the third oldest of eleven kids. Ever since I can remember, my parents instilled in all of us kids that God is first in their life and motivated us to make Him first in ours.

When I was four or five, my parents incorporated into Regnum Christi, so growing up I always was the legionary fathers and brothers around. Finally, when I was old enough, I started going to the retreats that the fathers would run. It was every boy’s dream: a huge property with open field, sports fields, a pool, and a bunch of other kids the same age to play with. I absolutely loved those retreats. I think, looking back, the thing that I love the most about those retreats is the Legionary fathers knew how to balance perfectly fun and God. We would be out all-day playing soccer, running around, swimming in the pool, playing capture the flag or wolf hunt in the night, and they would sprinkle in just enough spiritual stuff to help us to grow spiritually: daily Mass, a reflection, a moment of prayer. They were always my favorite weekends, and I would never miss a retreat.

When I turned twelve and was finally old enough to go to the Apostolic School, the Legion’s high school seminary, one of the fathers told me about this school up in Indiana where it was like on the retreats, but all year. I was interested, but it was really far from home and so I was not sure. The father wound up convinced my best friend to go for the month-long summer visit to see about joining, but he did not want to go alone, so he bugged me until I finally gave in. So I went, but already with the firm decision in my head that I was not going to stay for the year. I would go for the month to check it out and then maybe when I was older, I would go back if I liked.

It is hard to describe what I felt when I first arrived at the Apostolic School, but I think the closest image is like a puzzle piece that clicks into place. I just had this clarity or realization that this is where I was supposed to be, that this is where God was calling me to be. And that is how the worst month of my life began… I knew clearly in my mind what God was asking of me, but I did not have the strength to say yes. Every week I would have a talk with one of the fathers there to see how I was doing and what I was thinking. I could not tell him I was not going to stay because I was sure God was calling me to stay, but I could not tell him I was going to stay because I was not strong enough to leave behind my family, my friends, my life and move across the country at twelve years old. So, I came up with a new plan: stall. After the month at the school, everyone goes home for a few days before those who want come back for the year. I thought if I could just get back home, I could forget about all of this and go back to my normal life. That is exactly what I did. Every week, I would talk to the father and tell him I was not sure and needed more time and he always obliged.

Finally, I made it back home. I was so relieved because I thought I was finally free to go back to how things were. On my first day home, I was with my family and the phone rang. It was the father from the Apostolic School! This guy was not going to give up! We spoke for a while and I gave him the same speech I had been giving him for weeks. He told me it was not a problem and hung up. Two hours later, the phone rang again. It was the father I knew from the Bocamb retreats. He wanted to invite me to dinner with him. I knew exactly what was going on, but by that point, I was so sick and tired of fighting against God that I accepted father’s invitation.

We went to a small café near my house and I opened up everything I was carrying inside and he told me something I will never forget. He said, “You will never regret giving God the first shot at your life.” That phrase has stuck with me through all the years. It was at that dinner that God gave me the strength to accept the call that I already felt from the moment I arrived at the Apostolic School.

A few days later, I went with my dad and older brother up to Indiana. It was the end of August 2005 and as anyone from Louisiana knows, that was when Katrina hit. So, my dad, my brother and I left the day before the storm arrived and left my mom, the rest of the kids, and my grandma to wait out the storm. Luckily, my family made it out with no major damage, but it was about a week before I had any news about them because all the phonelines and cell towers were down. Finally, they could call and say they were okay.

It is amazing the change after I stopped fighting God and followed where I knew He was leading me. It is an adventure that started many years ago and has not stopped since. It has led me all over the world, meeting so many amazing people, and sharing the Gospel in missions I never could have imagined as a little 12 year old kid!



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