My name is Marcus Schonnop and I fully entered the Catholic Church through baptism, confirmation and first communion during the Easter vigil of 2010. I come from a family where God was never mentioned and religion was never talked about. I grew up surrounded by secularism and as a result developed a skewed view of Catholic Church to say the least. After high school I studied Forest Resource Management at the University of British Columbia for four years. During this time God challenged my agnosticism by giving me a Catholic roommate.
For the first time in my life my views on religion were being challenged and this began three years of discovery where I was yearning for the ultimate answers to life. I would come up with question after question but I would be given answer after answer. God placed faith in my heart and although it took me a long time to understand things I came to understand that true freedom came from following Jesus Christ. For Jesus called me from my life and asked for a response. After wrestling with the faith for three years I could no longer deny the truth and I responded to God’s call by becoming Catholic.
My roommate’s testimony to the Catholic faith showed just how one person was able to change a life by showing them Jesus. I knew I had now inherited this responsibility through my baptism to spread the saving news of Jesus Christ. This gift of faith that was given to me was not my own. I felt God was calling me to become a missionary so I served with NET Ministries of Canada for a year, evangelizing the youth of Canada and in particular Alberta. Serving on NET strengthened my desire to serve the church and to evangelize. My time on NET was one of the most rewarding years of my life.
After serving on NET I went to work for a logging company in British Columbia to put my university degree to use. However after working for half a year my heart became restless and I wasn’t content. I longed to serve God and to bring others to Christ. This was when I actually began to discern priesthood rather than flee at the thought of it. The more I looked into priesthood the more I fell in love with it, even though the idea still terrified me. The idea of diocesan priesthood didn’t give my heart peace and it wasn’t until I looked into the Companions of the Cross and visited them that I began to feel peace.
God has challenged me in ways I would never have imagined and I thank him for that. I have realized that I cannot discern God’s will alone and that I need a community of brothers to help me discern. I feel at home here and that is because I am resting in God. I challenge you to listen to where God is calling you and do not be afraid of what He has in store.
“Our Souls are restless until they rest in you.” – St. Augustine
What kind of ministry are you doing now?
I am currently serving as an associate-pastor of St. Maurice parish in Ottawa, ON.