Fr. Seelos was born in a small town of Fussen in Bavaria, Germany in the year 1811. He was given a saint's name when he was baptized--St. Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary priest to India, Japan, and China. Like the saint for whom he was named after, Fr. Seelos desired to be a missionary priest. Fr. Seelos joined the Congregation of the Redemptorists in Germany at the age of 23 and sailed to New York City to help minister to German speaking immigrants to United States. He was ordained as priest few years later in Baltimore, Maryland, not too far from where my sister, brother-in-law, and their two kids live. He would be stationed in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and New Orleans especially at the height of its Yellow Fever outbreak.
It goes to show that the names we are given by our parents are not by accident; in a great mystery, the names we are given whether at baptism or the names we choose at our confirmation bear our mission for life. Although all of us began as helpless and barely visible embryos within our mothers' wombs, our destiny for greatness was already pre-announced by our name. We see that in the gospel with John the Baptist and Jesus. In today's gospel, we see a meeting between two unborn babies whose names were already announced by the Archangel Gabriel. The parents of these babies were not to name them, for God has already chosen names for them. You know, this is what happened to all of us; God has already chosen names for us. How? Where as our mom and dad each gave us 23 chromosomes to form our bodies, God himself created--out of nothing--a unique soul that has not existed in the universe before. And God destined this unique soul and body for greatness, to be like St. John the Baptist. Archangel Gabriel described to John's mother Elizabeth what John will be like: " he will be great in the sight of (the) Lord...He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother's womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord."
On the day that John the Baptist was born, his father Zechariah cried out, "And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins."
Fr. Cary never imagined himself that he was destined to be like Fr. Seelos or like John the Baptist. But that is who he is now, by giving people knowledge of salvation by becoming a doctor of souls. Likewise, my sister and brother-in-law in someway wanted their unborn son to reflect that greatness by naming him after a saintly priest who was renowned for his kindness, cheerfulness, and generous desire to help those in need. For that same reason they named their first child Therese, after St. Therese of Lisieux and named their second child Pio, after Padre Pio. Yet, regardless of whether or not we are named after a saint, the truth is that all of us, who began as a humble embryo in our mama's womb, were given great destiny by Heavenly Father to become like His Son and to be with Him eternally.