By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – At a town hall meeting that addressed vocations, Cardinal Justin Rigali reiterated to young women from archdiocesan high schools the importance of regular Mass attendance.

“Whatever your vocation is, Mass on Sunday gives you strength,” the Cardinal told the students at the March 5 assembly at Mount Nazareth, a residence of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, located on the campus of Nazareth Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia.

The Cardinal also encouraged the young women to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation.

The town hall highlighted consecrated or religious life which, the Cardinal said, is “a special call at Christ to come to Him.”

Shauna Mulligan, a senior at St. Pius X High School in Pottstown, said the town hall reinforced the importance of being attentive to wherever God is calling her.

Courtney Donovan, a junior at Kennedy-Kenrick High School in Norristown, said the gathering gave her a better perspective of what religious life is about and assured her and her peers “not to be afraid” if they are ever called to it.

The 14th annual meeting was sponsored by the archdiocesan Office for Consecrated Life and vocation directors representing congregations of women religious in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Approximately 75 young women from 12 Catholic high schools across the Archdiocese attended the gathering, which began and concluded in prayer and with personal testimonials from the vocation directors about how they answered God’s call.

The students were invited to the town hall through the recommendation of their school ministers or theology instructors, according to St. Joseph Sister Kathleen Leary, archdiocesan coordinator for Vocations to Consecrated Life.

They have been recognized, she said, because of their desire to discover God’s call in their lives and for their involvement in school projects geared to helping the less fortunate.

Maggie Fortescue, a freshman at Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor, said the gathering reinforced that “God has a plan” for everyone.

Mary Kate McCann, a Carroll junior, said she found the Cardinal’s talk inspirational.

Christina Furia, a junior at SS. John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School in South Philadelphia, said the town hall “allowed us to really think about where to find our calling and to follow our vocation.”

Sister Kathleen stressed to the students that whatever God is calling them to be, the Church both appreciates and needs them.

For more information about vocations, contact Sister Kathleen Leary, S.S.J., archdiocesan coordinator for vocations to consecrated life, at (215) 587-3795 or e-mail her at

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or