By TAMI QUIGLEY Staff writer
After a stormy day of drenching rain, the sun broke through brilliantly as young adults gathered for the Theology on Tap session “Everyday Holiness: Learning to Hear God Speak” Aug. 13 at Hops at the Paddock, Allentown.
We often hear about being called to holiness, but what does that look like in practice? How can we learn to hear God speak to us and to distinguish his voice from all the other noise and distractions in our lives?
Father Daniel Arechabala discussed this and shared anecdotes from his own faith journey as presenter at the evening gathering.
“I was very young when I first thought about being a priest,” said Father Arechabala. “But the further I tried to push God away, he came back with overwhelming force.
“Ultimately, God wants us to be close to him no matter what.”
Father Arechabala was 5 years old when he first said he wanted to be a priest. “At the time I didn’t want to be holy, I wanted to be the center of attention,” said Father Arechabala, who has three brothers. “But it deepened.”
Father Arechabala is parochial vicar of Queen of the Universe, Levittown and St. Mary, Bristol in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He was ordained May 16, 2015 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia.
Father Arechabala is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where he was a classmate of Thea Aclo, director of the Diocesan Office of Youth, Young Adult and Family Ministry (OYYAFM), which sponsors the Theology on Tap series.
Theology on Tap is a monthly series sponsored by OYYAFM that is designed to welcome young adults ages 21-35, single or married, together in a casual setting where they can grow in the faith and share community with one another. It originated in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Illinois.
Alexa Smith, assistant director of OYYAFM, welcomed those gathered. Francesca Frias, assistant coordinator of OYYAFM, also attended.
Father Arechabala opened his presentation with “Praying With Your Five Fingers,” and shared with the group the Five Finger Prayer a simple, yet effective way to pray.
The five fingers of prayer are the thumb, representing those closest to you; the pointing finger, representing those in authority; the tallest finger, representing our leaders; the ring finger, representing those who are weak; and the pinkie, representing yourself.
“From the moment we’re baptized, we are called,” Father Arechabala said. “At confirmation, we experience a deepening of that call. Marriage, the priesthood and religious life are all a call within in a call.”
When Father Arechabala was 12, he wrote a letter to God. “I asked him to help me be who I should be. That simple way to address God is how we always should do it.”
“As I continued to pray, there were many things the Lord gave me, especially perseverance,” Father Arechabala said.
But Father Arechabala wanted to experience the world, pushing the idea of the priesthood aside.
“Prayer can involve some negotiation,” Father Arechabala said, recalling how he prayed, “God, you want me to be a priest. I’ll become a permanent deacon after I’m married with kids.”
Emphasizing the importance of prayer, Father Arechabala said, “In high school, I picked up the Liturgy of the Hours,” noting this breaks down the Book of Psalms and other parts of Scripture. “You’ll find yourselves using those Scriptures.”
Father Arechabala also encouraged young adults to consecrate themselves to Our Lady “because that’s what Jesus did, and he knows better than we do. She never fails to lead us to her son.”
He suggested they get the book “33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration” by Marians of the Immaculate Conception (MIC) Father Michael Gaitley.
“Golf is boring,” Father Arechabala said with a smile. “When I was a golf caddy I was bored, so I prayed the rosary while being a caddy. Our Lady showed me there’s an easy and beautiful way to follow Christ. Our Lady has led me through thick and thin.”
Theology on Tap events are free of charge. Food and beverage can be ordered from the menu at the event site. For more information, visit www.allentowndiocese.org/tot or email Alexa Smith.
The next Theology on Tap is slated for Monday, Sept. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Hops at the Paddock.