by Katie Peterson
Special to The Leaven
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Matthew, James and John are names more familiar to the average Catholic.
But it was Andrew who was the first to follow the Lord.
That’s why dioceses across the country utilize an early vocations outreach program named after him, Project Andrew, to invite young men who want to learn more about the priesthood to come ask their questions.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas vocation office will host two such sessions of Project Andrew, for young men high school age or older, from 1:30-5 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park, and on Oct. 13 at Most Pure Heart of Mary Church in Topeka
“Project Andrew is a ‘ground-level’ vocation event meant to give young men a better understanding of what following Jesus should look like at this stage of their life,” said Father Dan Morris, vocation office director.
“With a focus on learning more about a potential calling to the seminary and the priesthood,” he continued, “it is our hope that a young man will come away from this event with the necessary tools of discernment to go forth and gradually come to know and respond to God’s will for his life.
“Project Andrew has its genesis in the fact that Andrew was the first of the disciples called by Jesus to follow him,” he concluded. “Thus, dioceses across the country have used the calling of Andrew as [a] model for learning how to properly discern any calling, but especially a calling to the priesthood.”
The event will include a witness testimony from a newly ordained priest of the archdiocese, small group discussions, Holy Hour with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and dinner with several archdiocesan priests.
But it will open differently from similar events in the past thanks to feedback from past participants.
“Although the young men expressed appreciating hearing a witness from a priest, as well as getting to hear from the archbishop,” Father Morris said, “they also noted that such information is at least two steps removed from where they are at.
“For any young man who feels called to the priesthood, his first step will be to follow that calling into the seminary.”
Therefore, three current seminarians will talk to the young men, too.
“Our seminarians will not only share a little bit about their own discernment, but also about what seminary formation is actually like and how they are growing in their relationship with Christ,” he said.
The seminarians will focus on three topics — prayer, brotherhood and detachment.
Seminarian Sudeep Kodigandla, who is currently in his pastoral year at Most Pure Heart of Mary, said he will speak about brotherhood — a component of seminary life that makes a seminarian’s journey both easier and richer.
“It is about not being alone in this,” Kodigandla said. “It is about those deeper friendships.”
“Day-to-day life, we have friends, but we also have one, two or three close friends that we can open up with and talk about life and talk about God [with],” he added. “You can’t do that with just anyone.”
Father Morris said he hopes attendees, whether they are called to the priesthood or not, fall in love with Jesus Christ.
“By taking advantage of this time to hear directly from our seminarians, priests and even the archbishop — as well as ask any questions they may have — every man will find himself having grown in the kind of knowledge that leads to him falling in love with Jesus Christ and following him wherever that may lead,” he said. “Even if a young man discovers through this that he is not called to the priesthood, such knowledge will only empower him to one day be an even better husband, father and man.”
How to register
To register for the free event, visit the website at: kckvocations.com and click the “Events” tab; send an email to: email@example.com; or call (913) 647-0303. Parents are also welcome to attend the event.