From Nov. 19-21, about 20 young men, open to the possibility of a call to the priesthood, gathered at Camp Abbey in Covington, Louisiana to learn more about discernment, at Quo Vadis II retreat. The event was a big success!
This series of retreats that we are offering as a diocese are opportunities for young men to build community with others who take their faith seriously. After having a diocese-only event this past summer at Our Lady of Hope in Chatawa, this latest event included youth and young adults as well as leadership from our diocese and the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Father Josh Johnson, Vocation Director for Baton Rouge, contacted me over the summer about the possibility of collaborating, and I was very excited to do so.
The weekend included talks on vocations, prayer, and discernment by yours truly, as well as Father Josh and some of the seminarians from each diocese. The participants also were able to have a Q&A session with all the seminarians of Jackson and Baton Rouge.
As usual, however, the most important time was spent having fun and praying as a community of believers and seekers. I thought that it really helped having another diocese participate as it increased the number of participants and also brought new ideas and talents to the forefront in planning and executing the weekend.
I was also grateful that Father Aaron Williams and several youth ministers from our diocese joined me in leading our young men through the weekend. We had a beautiful Sunday Mass for Christ the King along with a Eucharistic procession which kicked off the Year of the Eucharist in moving fashion. I left that weekend with some ideas about how to continue helping young people discern throughout the year. I know that those who participated would jump at the chance to build community and pray together on a more regular basis, and not just on retreat every few months, and so this Advent is an opportunity for me to prepare for more regular offerings in the New Year.
Even during a year of pandemic, we have been able to offer our young church discernment opportunities that have invigorated their faith and helped them understand the importance of following the Lord’s will for their life. I trust that eventually this will bear fruit in priestly vocations and vocations to religious life. As always please keep this intention in mind when you pray and thank you for your support of the Department of Vocations.