Discern how you will answer our Lord’s call

Bishop Knestout at DYC & College Summit 2023.(Photo: Vy Barto)

Many of us will use summer for some time of rest and relaxation — of stepping back from what we do throughout much of the year in our personal and professional lives, even if it is just for a brief amount of time.

We might use these weeks to enjoy some recreation or a weekend spiritual retreat, and to contemplate what we hope to do when we return to our regular routines.

Each summer since 2014, our diocese has invited young men entering sophomore, junior and senior years of high school to participate in “Quo Vadis.” This retreat, a joint effort of our offices for vocations and evangelization, offers participants an opportunity to discern a possible vocation to priesthood.

The offices have also offered “Fiat Days,” a weekend for young women to examine a possible vocation to the religious life. For participants in both retreats our hope is that during that weekend they will reflect upon and answer the call to holiness in whatever path they choose in life.

The words “Quo vadis?” originate in a story during which Peter, leaving Rome to avoid crucifixion, encounters Jesus after his resurrection.

Peter asks him, “Quo vadis?” (“Where are you going?”). “I am going to Rome to be crucified again,” Jesus replies. Hearing this, Peter has a change of heart, returns to his ministry in Rome and is crucified.

We are blessed to have an extensive Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM) that serves on colleges and universities throughout our diocese. Our dedicated campus ministers face a pastoral challenge: How do we engage Catholic students who might be disengaged from formal participation in Church life?

As difficult as that outreach might be, CCM, which is supported by our Annual Diocesan Appeal, provides retreats and other opportunities for our young adults to stay connected to the Church and to grow in their faith. CCM helps them answer, “Where are you going?”

I’ve learned that several of the men who have become priests for our diocese and women who have entered religious life credit CCM for nurturing the seed of their vocations. The campus ministry environment and community helped them discern where they are going – specifically, where God was calling them to serve as a priest, deacon, religious, married or single person.

Within the renewal summer provides, “Quo vadis?” is a question each of us should ask ourselves. It might require asking other questions: Where do we find meaning and purpose – meaning and purpose associated with the self-sacrifice exemplified by Christ? How can I grow closer to Jesus, especially in the Eucharist?

My hope is that once we’ve paused, caught our breath, and enjoyed a vacation, we will take time to discern and understand where our Lord is calling us and how we will answer that call.

May you have a blessed summer.

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