More than 80 young men ages 12 to 17 gathered at the St. Paul Seminary Aug. 17 for the first Vocation Day hosted by the Vocation Office of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The Catholic Spirit asked Matthew Goldammer, a current seminarian who helped during the day, and Joey Hughes, a participant, to write about their experiences.
Keeping in mind where God is leading you
By Joey Hughes for The Catholic Spirit
On Aug. 17, some other young men from my parish and I attended an archdiocesan Vocation Day event at the University of St. Thomas. Walking into the St. Paul Seminary building, we were greeted by a roomful of joyful priests, seminarians and discerning young men.
From there, the day consisted of the celebration of Mass, socializing, lunch, time to play games like ultimate Frisbee, talks from a few priests and seminarians on finding their vocations, and adoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. I’m grateful to those who put on the event.
In our world today, the question might come to mind, “Why were a bunch of teenage boys going to church at a seminary on a Saturday afternoon?”
As Catholics, we are told to do the will of God. It is central to life in Christ, leading the faithful where they are meant to be. I, and many others from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, attended the Vocations Day trying to keep that in mind. The Lord is calling all of us somewhere, and we are to keep ourselves open to hearing where that may be.
Attending the event was a nice reminder that priests and seminarians are normal human beings who were called in a spectacular way, and that the seminary has been overflowing with them.
It was also encouraging to see the great number of young men keeping their hearts open to God’s call, whatever it may be, and remembering the many more throughout the archdiocese.
I hope all Catholics will be encouraged by the next generation’s openness to God’s call, and that we would all pray for the young men and women of the archdiocese trying to discern their vocations.
Hughes, 16, is a member of All Saints in Lakeville.
Discerning God’s will
By Matthew Goldammer for The Catholic Spirit
As part of an archdiocesan-wide Vocation Day event, more than 80 young men, ages 12 to 17, came to the University of St. Thomas for a day of activities at the St. Paul Seminary and St. John Vianney College Seminary.
The young men entered the event with a specific goal in mind: to be able to better discern God’s will in their lives and meet others from across the archdiocese who feel the same desire within them.
In a world that is increasingly secular and relativistic, it is quite a challenge not only to discern God’s will, but to discern it well. Many young people today wonder about what the word “discernment” really means for them — not necessarily in the philosophical and academic sense, but in their lives directly.
To discern means for people to allow the Lord to guide them so that His will might enlighten their mind and enflame their heart. In order to do this most efficaciously, it is important to remember that we are not the ones to “do” anything in this process, but rather allow the Lord to move.
An individual discerning God’s will is called to have a sense of passivity in prayer, allowing God to work. To discern well is to have a time of receiving from the Lord — not only knowledge of his will but, most important, his love. God’s love is the point of origin in prayer and the final cause of our existence.
Having an interior disposition of passivity in prayer during a time of discernment, allowing oneself to rest in the silence and stillness of God, is undoubtedly countercultural. The culture in which we live is noisy and busy, making it feel painful to be removed from this norm for a period of time.
Silence and stillness, especially in today’s society, is not only hard to find but even more challenging to maintain. To discern well means sacrificing what the culture would deem “normal, everyday activities or items” (i.e. technology) for the sake of entering more deeply into the interior disposition necessary for discernment.
Is this a difficult sacrifice? Yes, without a doubt. But it is so important.
It should be noted that one does not need to let go of everything “cold turkey” while discerning, for indeed one can lead a normal life in the eyes of the world during this process. In the eyes of God, however, by spending more time with him, the individual has arrived at a deeper union with him, a reality of profound joy.
It was such an incredible sight to see all the young men last month so excited to learn more about the priesthood and to discern God’s will more intentionally in their lives. Their fervor in faith would not be possible without the sustenance they received from the faithful around them.
Every person enters into a period of discernment in his or her life. Let us all pray without ceasing that each may respond with generosity to the will of God our Father, so that the world may more fully see his light shining in the Church.
Goldammer is a sophomore seminarian at St. John Vianney College Seminary.
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