If you are actively discerning a vocation to the Priesthood, Diaconate, Consecrated Life, or Marriage and you are looking for information to help in your discernment, BE SURE TO CHECK the section at the bottom of the right sidebar for the "labels" on all posts. By clicking on one of these labels it will take you to a page with all posts containing that subject. You will also find many links for suggested reading near the bottom of the right sidebar. Best wishes and be assured of my daily prayers for your discernment.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Youth get vocation advice at Portland rally"

From the Catholic Sentinel
By Ed Langlois

More than 350 sixth graders broke up laughing when Father Michael Biewend pulled out a cell phone and started dialing up youths in the crowd. When they answered, the priest said loudly that God is calling to ask them to follow Jesus.

Father Biewend’s keynote speech was part of last week’s vocations rally, which drew sixth graders from a dozen Catholic schools to St. Pius X community center.

The day examined the four vocation groups: priesthood or diaconate, religious life, marriage and single life.

Father Biewend, pastor of The Madeleine Parish in Portland, explained that until seventh grade, he really wanted to be a pilot, or a bus driver or a milk man. But then he met a holy nun who prayed the rosary during breaks in class and he wanted her joy, her peacefulness, her goodness. He later met an impressive young priest and the idea of life in the church endured. He tried to push it aside, but kept getting nudged. Once, he inadvertently knocked a book down at the home library — it was about a missionary priest.

When he finally started seminary, he was so homesick, he called his mother and asked her to bring him home. She returned, and he thanked her later for the tough love.

Vocations directors from around the Archdiocese of Portland have consolidated efforts to broaden their outreach to youths. Father Kelly Vandehey, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Portland, and directors from various women’s religious communities and members of the vocations promotion group Serra Club have decided to concentrate on two crucial phases in early life — the age of 11 and grade 11. That’s why the program is called Focus 11.

“Everyone has a vocation, a call to holiness,” says Sister Charlene Herinckx, director of vocations for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

“We’re not talking about a job or career — we’re talking about a way of life,” Father Vandehey told the youths. “How is it we hear where God is calling us to be?”

Schools sending sixth graders to the rally were Valley Catholic, Christ the King, St. Cecilia, St. Francis, St. Anthony, St. Clare, St. John the Baptist, St. Matthew, St. Pius X, Archbishop Howard, Holy Cross and The Madeleine.

The students were able to meet priests and religious, and play a few games along the way.

“I was surprised that all the people found out they wanted to be a priest or nun in middle school or high school,” says Tracey Nguyen, a sixth grader at St. Anthony School in Tigard.

She enjoyed the day, especially the parts where the students could participate.
Tracey learned more about religious life and missionaries, topics on which she was hazy before.

“We’re a little far from choosing what kind of life we want,” she explains. “But before our field trip, we really didn’t know anything about some of the things.”

No comments: