Through June 22-24 the Department of Vocations hosted our first ever Quo Vadis? Young Men’s retreat. As I’ve shared in previous columns this is a retreat that has been fruitful in other dioceses, and I was anxious to see how the participants responded. Well, they had a great time, and so did I!
The retreat was held at the new Our Lady of Hope Retreat Center, which is on the former site of Our Lady of the Pines in Chatawa. We first gathered for hamburgers and hotdogs grilled by Knights of Columbus Council #8054 (McComb) as men from high school up through young professionals got to visit with one another. Then I provided the opening talk, explaining our theme: Quo Vadis? or where are you going? I explained to each retreatant that the Lord was asking each of them this question, and I hoped they would respond generously to whatever call they received. Our seminarians each spoke to the group at points of the week, and they all did an excellent job. I was so proud to see each of them bring their gifts to the table throughout the retreat.
The retreat was marked by fun. We didn’t spend the entire time just talking about vocations and our need for priests, we spent time building brotherhood among young men in our diocese who need to be supported as they live their faith. I would like to thank Bishop Kopacz for supporting this effort, as well as the parents, chaperones, and young adults who either took part or supported this retreat is some way. Also, a great thanks to the Knights of Columbus for that great kickoff to the event. It was especially great that the McComb Council got to meet Will Foggo, the seminarian that they have been supporting through the RSVP program. This was a great example of how this event doesn’t just bring together discerners, but supporters of vocations from various backgrounds and parts of the diocese.
This is just the beginning. I certainly believe that we can build off the momentum of this event and I look forward to offering more opportunities for community building soon. This summer is flying by as our seminarians will be finishing up their parish assignments at the end of the month. Deacon Andrew Bowden will continue his scheduled internship at St. Mary’s in Natchez until mid-October. Please continue to pray for our seminarians and for the young men and women who are seriously discerning whether the Lord is calling them to serve with an undivided heart.