Welcome Seminarian Joe Bass!
IT IS SUCH A GREAT JOY TO BE WITH YOU THIS SUMMER! Many of you may know that my journey to the priesthood is a unique one, with my dad also being a Roman Catholic Priest. You can imagine the raising of eyebrows and intense questions that follow such an introduction. After my Mom and Dad were married, my dad was ordained as an Episcopalian priest in Dallas, Texas. We lived there for many years, and mom and dad served and loved the Lord faithfully there. When I was about five years old, mom and dad, through much prayer and discernment, came to believe that the Catholic Church is the One, True Church established by Jesus Himself. Subsequently, our family came into the Catholic Church in the early 1990’s. After converting, we moved here to Baton Rouge, where my mother grew up. In 2003, my father was ordained a Catholic Priest under the permission of Pope St. John Paul II. Pope St. John Paul II saw that there were many Episcopalian and Anglican ministers who were converting to Catholicism, and knew that their hearts and minds were formed in such a way which would allow for them to become Catholic priests. There you have it!
WHEN I GRADUATED FROM BROADMOOR HIGH IN 2007, I knew I wanted to do something that I thought would affect many lives for the better. My experiences at Christ the King Catholic Student Center were what began to speak to my heart’s desire. For the first time in my life, I began to attend daily mass and frequent confession. For the first time in my life, I experienced deep and rich friendships that were grounded in a desire to know and love Christ more deeply, and to share in the joy of knowing and loving Him. The Lord then blessed me with two wonderful years in New Roads, Louisiana. If you’ve lived in Louisiana long enough, you’ll know that you can always find somebody who has an aunt, cousin, or sibling in New Roads. All roads lead to New Roads, I suppose!
MY TIME IN NEW ROADS WAS SPENT AS A CAMPUS MINISTER, TEACHER, AND COACH at Catholic High of Pointe Coupee. My students brought so much fun, excitement, headache, and joy to my life. I was truly experiencing what I had desired since I was a freshman in college- touching lives, giving the Gospel away, and having a blast while doing it all! These experiences opened me up to discerning a call to the priesthood, because I had experienced so much joy in making a sincere gift of myself to God and His people, for the sake of promoting an encounter between God and His people. Then, one September evening in Our Lady of Mercy Church, I stayed after Mass to pray. I had a student whose father had just passed away in a tragic accident and was asking the Lord to comfort and heal this young man and his family. I remember thinking to myself, “Lord, what can I possibly do? How can I help a young man who is suffering the loss of his father?” In a moment of peace, I sensed the Lord inviting me to ask that question with respect to the priesthood. How could I help this young man if I were a priest? For the first time, that question was not filled with fear or anxiety. Rather, it was filled with peace. I entered seminary in the Fall of 2013, and have not regretted it since.