Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 2, 2000
Young people listen to God's call
Vocations retreat draws those who wonder if they're called to religious life
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
A religious vocation is an individual calling, but it's not an individual journey.
About 30 people attended a vocations retreat at Camp Oselia, Sept 22-23, and half of them were wondering if they are called to religious life.
"We want them to have a sense that they are not alone," said Father Sylvain Casavant, vocation director for the Edmonton Archdiocese.
"That they are not the only ones discerning. Also, they can connect with people who can help them . . . often times they feel this calling, but they're asking, 'Where do I go from here?'"
For the vocation directors of the religious orders who also attended, the retreat offered an opportunity to share ideas and friendship.
This is the fourth year of the retreat and every year brings out new faces, said Sophie Motoska, a member of the Alberta Vocation Directors.
"The vitality of the young people who come here is so nice to see. It's always a mixed crowd of people, ages and backgrounds," Motoska said.
Sarah Frey is a familiar face though. The outgoing 19-year-old is involved in youth activities such as the Burning Bush and Family Life Conference. She attended the retreat three years ago.
"I'm tired of piddling around, I have to do something about it," Frey said. "It started in Grade 9 or 10. I felt a call of becoming a sister.
"I was (at retreat) before, I'm starting to think more seriously about it now."
Bishop Lawrence Huculak of the Ukrainian Eparchy was the guest speaker. He spoke of the source of the call and the need to respond to it.
Throughout history, God calls people to life, said Huculak using Moses and Abraham as examples of those who followed God's call.
"The most notable person in Scriptures to respond to the call is Mary. She accepts that call even though she doesn't know what that call meant."
This is probably the same feeling those called by God have, said Huculak - a feeling of confusion.
John Belcastro, 24, came to the retreat "out of confusion."
"I'm just not satisfied with my life," he said. "I'm very open to whatever comes from this (retreat)."
"I want to start thinking more clearly about what I should be doing with my life. Life is passing me by and I'm not doing anything about it. I want to have more focus," he said.
Huculak spoke of God's callings scattered throughout the Scriptures, from Abraham to Jesus.
"If God is the one doing the calling, he chooses who he wants. When God is offering life, it is not necessarily to someone young. It's not somehow limited to age, background, education or some kind of qualification."
Huculak also spoke of accepting and responding to the call as Jesus did, that it is through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes, a call from God is interpreted as foolish and is ignored, said Huculak.
"How often do we laugh at God, saying 'You foolish man in heaven. . . . I'm not the person you're looking for.' Our response is to laugh it off, to not take God seriously.
"We're serious about our life on this earth. We're serious about our jobs . . . our neighbours, but we're not serious about the response to the call.
Huculak highlighted the recent Vatican document Dominus Iesus, published Sept 5, which received much criticism from the Christian community, as an example of how people brush off something before thoroughly examining it.
"As soon as it came out in the (newspapers), it was criticized and lambasted," he said of the document which he expects many of its critics did not fully read. "They just automatically jump on the document . . . and laugh at it. The reaction of society today is to laugh at God.
"Where the call of God is received, there, life again. When God calls us, God offers us life . . . life whatever form it can take. God adds to our human life when he gives us this call."