By Arlene Edmonds
Special to The CS&T
Young people will be talking about vocations this month. First, on Tuesday, June 16, sixth-to eighth-grade boys will spend the day at St. Charles Seminary for the third Brothers of Borromeo Vocation Congress.
Then, on Wednesday, June 24 it will be the sixth to eighth-grade young women’s turn to attend the first Girls of Goretti Vocation Conference at Malvern Retreat House. Both events will provide middle school youths the opportunity to pray, engage in various activities and learn more about vocations in the Church.
“We are calling this a day of food, faith and formation,” said Father Christopher Rogers, director of the Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood. “We will have seminars where we will discuss spiritual training. There will be opportunities for the young men to go to confession, Mass and have Adoration throughout the day. There will also be many sports and other activities with the Philadelphia seminarians. There will even be things like a barbecue, a dunk tank, an obstacle course and just a lot of fun activities.”
The first two congresses have been so successful that this summer a new initiative, a Quo Vadis (“where are you going?”) Camp will be planned for high school-age students. It is hoped that eighth-grade students who attended the BBVC event last year will join the sophomores to seniors this year, and that eighth- graders who attend the middle school congress will register for Quo Vadis next year.
The camp will be held during the month of August. There is ongoing registration during June and July. “We want those who attended the BBVC to keep evolving towards a vocation,” Father Rogers said. “We are launching this high school [initiative] because many of the young fellows are still discerning their vocation after the seeds were planted. We want those seeds to continue to grow.”
After the success of the congress in past years, Father Rogers and Auxiliary Bishop Daniel E. Thomas approached Sister Kathleen Leary of the archdiocesan Office for Consecrated Life, about creating a similar event for middle school girls. Over the past several weeks Sister Kate, along with staff from the Office of Youth and Young Adults (OYYA), has been working diligently to create a program for the June 24 event.
Sister Kate is hoping that 50 girls will participate in the first Girls of Goretti Vocation Conference. Letters have recently been sent out to pastors and middle schools inviting the girls to participate in this new initiative. Sister Kate is now eagerly awaiting the return of registration forms.
Among the special activities planned for the day is the making of a Goretti chaplet during one of the arts and crafts sessions. The girls who choose this workshop will also learn how to pray the chaplet of 10 beads. Like their male counterparts who are attending the Brothers of Borromeo event, the girls will also attend Mass, confession and a full roster of other activities.
“We are hoping to plant seeds for vocations to religious life,” Sister Kate said. “We will also discuss ways that they can become more active in parish life. We will have young women there who will discuss their vocations and how they were able to begin to discern their own vocation. This will help the girls to begin their own discernment to the call that God has for them.”
Registration information for the Brothers of Borromeo Vocations Congress or the new Quo Vadis summer camp is available online at www.heedthecall.org. For more information contact Father Rogers at 610-667-5778. To download the flyer and registration form for the Girls of Goretti Vocations Conference visit www.oyya.org or contact Sister Kate at 215-587-3795.
Arlene Edmonds is a freelance writer and St. Raymond of Penafort parishioner. She may be reached at ArleneEdmonds@aol.com.