by Father Dan Morris
Toward the end of the summer, one of the first things I was able to experience in my new role as vocation director was spending a week with our seminarians while on pilgrimage.
This year, it took place here in our own archdiocese. Staying at Savior Pastoral Center by night, and touring the archdiocese by day, this “staycation” served as a way to introduce our men to some of the many hidden treasures, essential ministries and overall life that is found within the local church in which, God willing, they will one day serve as priests.
The annual pilgrimage also doubles as an opportunity for our seminarians to spend some quality time together before heading back to their separate seminaries to begin their next year of formation.
As you might imagine, this gives our seminarians time to bond and get to know each other.
Just as important, the archbishop and all of us who help oversee their formation get to know our guys better as well. And it was in getting to know our seminarians on a more personal level that I began to realize just how blessed we as an archdiocese are.
Although called from many different backgrounds and out of various stages of life, the thing that struck me the most was the camaraderie that all 31 of our seminarians share.
They wholeheartedly care for one another, they genuinely enjoy spending time together and, most importantly, they go out of their way to support one another in their common journey to stay close to the Lord and grow in holiness.
Which is why, when discussing with them what theme we felt should be on this year’s poster and prayer card, it became obvious that the standard Scripture passages just weren’t going to do.
Our seminarians are not responding to the Lord’s call because “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few ” (Lk 10:2). They are not saying “yes” because Jesus Christ and his church need more priests. No, each is able to share in his own way the reason they have chosen to discern this call.
Just like the disciples on road to Emmaus encountered our Lord, they too have discovered their hearts burning within them, when invited to share in the life of Jesus Christ as a Catholic priest.
I invite you and your family to pick up one of our prayer cards at your parish. Pray for vocations. Pray for our seminarians. Pray for the church.
And through our prayers, may we, as the body of Christ, continue to find our hearts burning within us, as we journey with Jesus Christ and he speaks to us on the way!