The summer before his senior season, Joe Freedy approached his personal line of scrimmage and surveyed the field. The University at Buffalo quarterback knew the options at his disposal.
Freedy peered to his right and found comfort that a primary route was starting a family with the girlfriend everyone adored. He glanced to his left and recognized he could use his communications degree for a possible career in sales.
He then swallowed hard and made one of the most momentous audibles a man could imagine. He checked off the possibility of a wife and children, checked off on the sales gig, checked off on a life virtually everyone else in the world would consider normal.
Freedy, the starting quarterback of a Division I football team and big man on campus, decided to become a priest.
"It was a huge tug on my heart," Freedy said, "but the Lord was calling me to this."
Freedy is studying at the epicenter of an extraordinary time in the Roman Catholic Church. Since graduating from UB in 2002 as one of the school’s top all-time passers, he received his master’s degree in philosophy from Duquesne and last August was assigned to the Pontifical North American College at the Vatican.
He twice met Pope John Paul II and was in Rome for the pontiff’s death and stirring funeral.
The 26-year-old from suburban Pittsburgh also saw the white smoke billow and stood beneath the window when Pope Benedict XVI gave his first papal blessing. Freedy on Wednesday served Benedict XVI during the Solemn Mass of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica.
…The seminal moment of Joe Freedy’s epiphany could be traced to a book his dad gave him during Christmas break of his junior year.
"The Lamb’s Supper," by Scott Hahn, details in layman’s terms the Eucharist, the sacred portion of the Catholic Mass that re-enacts the Last Supper and transforms bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.
Freedy compared "The Lamb’s Supper" to a football playbook drawn up for fans.
"Before I read this book," Freedy said, "I’d go to church every Sunday for an hour, I’d be bored, listen to some bad music, finish, and as soon as I was done I would forget about God until the next week. (The book) just takes the reality of the Mass and it explains it in very simple terms, but in a powerful way."
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What an inspiring story.
Hey! I know the guy on the left in that picture!! He’s a seminarian from where I live!! Sweet!
This is the story of a hero! Awesome.
For any mom who has a son, this is the story one would hope she could repeat as her son’s story and her own to share with family and friends. Awesome story.
Great story. God bless them ALL!
God was calling you already since birth. But because you have the freedom to do what you want, God permitted it to happened. You enjoyed life with all the things in the world. When, it was time for you to be called. There, God redial His phone to say; my son its time for you to stop and serve my flock – the Church. Actually God is calling the young people right now, but they could not hear HIm because of much destruction, confusion and etc. Your experience Father, could be of great help as a mirror to them. Surely, there will be many young ones who will be inspired of your radical response to His call. May your ” Yes to God be your inspiration in persevering your Holy Vocation” to serve and love God, especially the poor. God bless you!!!