Fostering Vocations — Quo Vadis
Last week, the Diocese of Fall River Office of Vocations hosted a Quo Vadis retreat. It was a pleasure to attend and spend some time speaking with the young men participating.
Quo Vadis—from Latin, meaning “where are you going”—is an opportunity for young men between the ages of 14 to 19 to gather with priests and seminarians of our Diocese for discussion, prayer, activities, food, and fellowship as they discern their own vocational calling in life. It was held inside and on the grounds of St. John Neumann Parish in East Freetown, which is located alongside Long Pond. Though the retreat was abbreviated this year, it seemed a very positive experience for those in attendance.
I joined in the day to celebrate Mass and share a few thoughts on mission, vocations, and faith. In my homily, I focused on three words taken from the day’s readings from Isaiah and Matthew: fear, faith, and listening. I urged them always to have a steadfast faith and, as the Prophet Isaiah says in the scriptures, “remain tranquil and do not fear.” I reminded them of the importance of listening to what they hear and of responding to it, unlike the people in Bethsaida in Matthew’s Gospel account.
In my talk, I shared my own personal journey, from Brazil to the United States, to the priesthood, the Episcopacy, and then to Fall River! God always calls us to something, and I invited them to consider what their own mission in the world might be. I raised this question and asked them to respond: “When you die, what is the one thing you would like people to remember about you?”
Vocations and the Eucharist
In honor of the three-year National Eucharistic Revival, I have asked our newly ordained priests and transitional deacons, as well as our seminarians, to share the connection between their vocation story and the Eucharist. You’ll notice that not only were their hearts moved by receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament but also that they found great grace in spending time with Him in Eucharistic adoration.
As one of my seminary professors told us, we don’t figure out who we are by looking at ourselves. We figure out who we are by looking at Him. Our daily Holy Hour at the seminary, with adoration and benediction, was integral for my formation and, thanks be to God, my ordination. ~Fr. Laurent Valliere
The Eucharist has played an essential role in my discernment of the priesthood. Although I have not experienced any lightning bolt or ecstasy moments while praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, the steady peace that Jesus has radiated into my heart has been guiding and helping me to follow the path He has laid out for me.
When I was working professionally, I started to go to daily Mass and would also occasionally spend time in adoration during my lunch breaks. It was these moments in intimate, silent prayer with the Lord where I would try to listen to His still, small voice in my heart and express my desires and concerns to Him. The priesthood became more evident over time, and my anxieties about the future slowly subsided. Around that time, as my discernment was becoming increasingly clear, I attended a Steubenville East Conference. During the Saturday Night Eucharistic Procession, I felt God say to me in my heart, “Be my priest,” which gave me more consolation and encouragement shortly before applying to the seminary. ~ Deacon John Garabedian
Throughout my discernment and journey thus far to the priesthood, the Eucharist has been central. When I began to seriously consider a vocation to the priesthood, I turned to Eucharistic Adoration as a time to reflect and to listen to the Lord speak to me. Today, in the seminary, I make time for Eucharistic Adoration every morning, as it truly keeps me rooted in my vocation. While I was discerning throughout high school and college, my vocation became stronger through Daily Mass in the summer months, as daily reception of the Eucharist helped clarify God’s Call for me. ~ Deacon Christopher Hughes
When receiving Christ in the Eucharist, I feel a peace and joy in my heart with the decision to follow Him and say yes to His call. ~ Shayne Dias, Second Pre-Theology
Parish Leader Convocation
On September 10, 2022, please join me for the first Parish Leader Convocation bringing together ministerial, catechetical, and lay leaders organized by the Secretariat for the New Evangelization. This convocation presents a wonderful next step for our Diocese, following our Synodal consultations and gatherings, and as we embark on the initial phase of the Eucharistic Revival. We are pleased to offer this event free of charge to registrants within the Diocese of Fall River; however, you must register by August 19th to be guaranteed free admission. Registration is available here: https://form.jotform.com/yyafamily/parish-leader-convocation
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha