Fr. Marc Cramer watches one of the Called by Name videos on the vocations of local priests.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Fr. Marc Cramer watches one of the Called by Name videos on the vocations of local priests.

March 7, 2016
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Father Jim Corrigan never thought he had what it takes to become a priest. But when he asked God what he wanted for him, the Lord showed him the way.

Corrigan thought he wasn't worthy. He had struggled with alcohol and, after working 24 years in the building trades, he was pretty sure he couldn't stop swearing. As for celibacy, he didn't even know how to spell it.

When he entered the seminary at age 42 he didn't expect to become a priest. In fact, he didn't know how to pray properly. But as he inched forward, it became clear God was calling him.

"I don't know what his will is for me but I do trust that if I cooperate with it, it will be good," he told himself.

Corrigan was ordained in June 2004 before some 1,400 of his closest friends eager to see a miracle. He is currently the pastor at Edmonton's St. Theresa Parish, one of the largest parishes in the archdiocese.

Corrigan's vocation story is told in Called by Name, a new video series that tells the stories of six men who took different paths to the priesthood.

The series is presented by the Vocations Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton and was produced by Matthew Bodnarek of Folsom '55 Productions.

PERSONAL JOURNEYS

Each of the featured priests speaks candidly about his personal journey "and the different pieces of their lives that led them to the priesthood," explains Father Marc Cramer, archdiocesan vocations director.

Cramer said the purpose is to reach out to young people in a medium they understand. "Our hope is that this would be something that will inspire young men (who are thinking about the priesthood)."

A three-member committee that included Cramer picked several priests they thought would be representative of archdiocesan clergy: senior priests, junior ones and priests from different ethnic backgrounds. They selected six.

Apart from Corrigan and Cramer, the series features Fathers Kris Schmidt, Carlos Nunez, Matthew Hysell and Michael Schumacher. Each video is from five to six minutes long and contains interesting footage of the subjects' background as well as their actual work.

PRIESTHOOD HUMANIZED

The videographer interviewed each of the featured priests in advance to find the right hook for each of them. Cramer, for example, came from the Mormon faith. Schmidttold of his passion for hockey.

"What I find really powerful about the videos is they really capture us," Cramer said. He thinks the videos "humanize" the priesthood.

The videos have been well received. The series trailer, for instance, had close to a 1,000 views as of Feb. 25. "People have said they really enjoy them," the director of vocations commented. "They find them really touching and many have said the quality is amazing."

Cramer wants to see the videos used as a resource in Edmonton Catholic Schools. It cost about $6,000 to produce the series.

The videos are available online at https://vimeo.com/album/3640479.