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I’ll outline my vocational journey by answering some basic questions.

What was my vocational background?
Untitled 1Fr. William Kaliyadan, M.S.I was that little mischievous but faithful altar boy who surprised my neighbors and friends with my plan to join the seminary. As I look back, I see how my parents who were faithful with our daily family prayer, going to Mass, nurtured the hidden seed of vocation in my life. I can’t dismiss the fact, how my two uncle priests and two cousin priests, and four aunties who are nuns made that gentle influence on my discernment. I always joke about how religiously I was polluted as a child! And God does have a sense of humor!

When did I first think of the priesthood or religious life?

I can remember when I first started thinking about the priesthood. I was in ninth grade and an altar server; when I was little, like every kid, I had wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, some kind of work where I could help people. And it occurred to me one day, as a junior, that if I wanted to help people the most, I could try to help them get to heaven. Thanks to the nuns who were my educators.

When did Ichange your mind to become a La Salette?

When I was in high school I wanted to become a diocesan priest and I planned on doing that in my home diocese in India. It should be clear right from the beginning and tell you that I had no intention of ever joining the Missionaries of La Salette and actually becoming a religious priest but I knew about religious priests. They belong to a religious community with a specific charism. They take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and live in community. However, Diocesan priests on the other hand make a promise to the Bishop and they belong to a particular diocese and serve the needs of that diocese.

What is my educational background?

After the first six years of my seminary formation in India. I decided to join the La Salette Missionaries and received the rest of my education and formation in the Philippines. I love being a member of a Marian Congregation. Mary's invitation at La Salette continues to guide me and help me to bring people closer to her Son, Jesus Christ.

What has been my ministry experience after my ordination?
Untitled 2Our La Salette House in Bangalore, India
The eleven years of my life in the Philippines blessed me with many challenging and enriching formation and missionary experiences among the poor and needy. My first assignment as pastor was at a parish with more than 30,000 Catholics and a school with 1,400 students. Besides saying more than four to five Masses and funerals a day, we reached out to the people in villages through basic Christian communities, soup kitchens, medical missions and by offering educational opportunities.

The last twenty years of my ministry in the United States, at the National Shrine of La Salette in Attleboro, MA, Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster, MA and Sacred Heart Parish in Lebanon, NH. These ministries have taught me to be a shepherd, a counselor and a spiritual guide.

How am I growing in my faith today?

I must confess that I’m not perfect, as we all must discover but I’m trying to become a holy priest. It may take me a long time to admit my weaknesses but I am very happy and proud to be a priest of the La Salette Missionaries.
I value community life and the brotherhood of my religious family. I find deeper meaning in my vocation while I reach out to others and respond to their emotional and spiritual needs. So you see, God does amazing things with our lives!

What about the contemporary concerns of the Church?
Untitled 3La Salette Indian students with Fr. Isidro Perin, M.S.
That being said, but there is a horror that we all have to deal with. We pick up newspapers and we read about terrible things that happened in the past, or terrible things that have happened now. We think many things but we all think “My God, when is this ever going to stop.” I would like to say that while you may feel the horror or the anger at all this – we do as well. We all feel the same, be we sisters, brothers or priests, we all feel the same. I mention this here because it is important that we recognize what is going on.

But this is not an issue that I think about when I talk about the priesthood or the religious life. I am convinced that it is during these difficult and stormy times, the Lord calls all the louder! Much like he called Peter, John and James. “Follow Me! Follow Me!”

What about our aging priestly ministers?

Statistics show the number of men being ordained has significantly increased in the last five years. There are more young men discerning to join religious life and priesthood. Those numbers are constantly rising. I tell you this very deliberately because you probably won’t hear this on the television. This good news makes few headlines in our world.

So what can ordinary people do about vocations to priesthood and religious life for our Church community?

Well, everybody here has a vocation to “cultivate a culture of vocations.” We need to invite people, by saying, “have you ever thought about becoming a priest; have you ever thought of becoming a sister; have you ever thought of becoming a religious brother.”

God has called us to be together – to pray together, to be servants of one another, to be missionaries together, and we are meant to be saints together. Now you know that we have far to go as Catholics! We are not as saintly as we ought to be, but that is what we want to be and that is what we are aiming for.

How can we understand the priests who serve us?
Untitled 4A chapter meeting of the Indian Province
I read a nice story about a priest who was invited to attend a dinner party at the home of some parishioners. He dressed up and was wearing his clerical collar, and a little boy in the family kept staring at him the entire evening. Finally, out of curiosity, the priest asked the boy what he was staring at, and the boy pointed to the priest’s neck. When the priest realized what was puzzling the boy, he said to him, “Do you know why I’m wearing this collar?” The boy nodded his head yes and replied, “It kills fleas and ticks for up to three months.”

What can we do to seek out and support vocations to priesthood and religious life?

People do not always understand priests—not just how they look but how they spend their time, what they value in their life and why they chose it. Please get to know your priests. There are so many good priests and religious who sacrifice their lives every day for the love of God.

I would also ask you today to pray for vocations to the priesthood, and religious life. Please pray also for those of us who have already said yes to God’s call to this unique vocation. God has chosen us not because we are the best qualified, but his grace is enough for us to do his work. May his grace help us all to say yes to our own vocation every day until we meet God face to face.

What is your latest appointment?

From serving as pastor of Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster, I have been elected to serve as the Provincial Superior of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette of the North American Province of Mary Mother of Americas. I am the first Indian-born American (and first foreign-born) to be elected Provincial.

The election was held in the Provincial Chapter of meetings in Orlando, Fla., from October 11-15, 2021. Fr. Roland Nadeau, M.S., and Fr. Ronald Foshage, M.S., were elected as my Vicar and Second Councilor, respectively.