Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
October 1, 2001
The cross a barrier to vocations
Redemptorist tells workshop that world says you can have everything you want
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
FALLIS — Mark Hagman, 22, wanted to know what God wants for him.
To help in his discernment he attended the vocation workshop sponsored and organized by Alberta Vocation Directors Executive at Camp Oselia, Sept. 21-22.
"Our society, especially the youth, thinks that religious life is a lesser option," Hagman, who is from Mayerthorpe, told the WCR.
"It is not hard to have that view when you live in a society like ours and you're young," he added.
With 27 other participants, Hagman spent time praying, reflecting and listening to talks on vocation.
Father Paul Terrio underscored that "love of the Church and generosity are two characteristics of a strong vocation."
"I have never seen a vocation that is not generous or heroically generous," Terrio, spiritual director at St. Joseph Seminary, said in his talk.
Committing oneself to God and to the service of the people needs total self-giving. It means not only giving one's talent, time and energy but it involves celibacy, that is, a marriage to a vocation to religious life and the priesthood.
"A society that does not value celibacy cannot produce vocations, either married or otherwise," Terrio said.
The entertainment industry is a roadblock to vocations in North America, Terrio told the WCR.
"Quite naturally, innocently and well-intentionedly, young people in North America enjoy making friends and sharing time and entertainment," Terrio observed.
"So the natural impetus towards socialization and friendship involves the entertainment industry, where pleasure is basically (the norm)," he said.
"I think God is calling just as many young people, perhaps even more, in North America as he is calling in South America or Eastern Europe," he said.
Father Remi Hebert, vocation director for the Redemptorists, shared similar thoughts.
"The message from the world is that you can have everything you want. The message of Jesus Christ is, there is a cross and we can't have it all," Hebert told the WCR.
His experience has showed him that many young adults are committed to their faith and love the Church. But they just don't want to commit themselves to religious life because that means cutting off other options.
"A commitment, just like a commitment to marriage, closes our options and it is not an easy thing, because the world says we should have other options," said Hebert.
One challenge and frustration of Hebert's ministry is communicating the idea that life with God is one in which a choice for some good is made, leaving behind other things because one cannot have everything.
"But this is a message that our society is not ready to hear because we do have everything," said Hebert.
This Edmonton-born priest believes in the Church, in religious life, in evangelization and that the people need to hear the Good News of Christ.
Sarah Frey, an education student at the U of A, has been attending the vocations workshops for the last three years.
"My experience is good because there is a sense of community," said Frey. She appreciates the fact that other young people are discerning their call.
"A lot of participants are younger and they are really serious about discernment," she said.
This year, she found that the program allowed more time for reflection.
"We've got a lot of questions but we also have the time to talk among ourselves and share what we think," said Frey, 20.
Peter Weidman had a similar experience. "I find it refreshing to be with other young people, who are thinking of the same journey," said the 22-year-old RCIA coordinator at Annunciation Parish.
"Being here is a great chance to discern about God's will," Wiedman said.
Karen Bang, a new convert to Catholicism, was happy to find a lot of people who have the same idea for the future.
"Being able to get away from work to have silent moments to feel what God is saying is important for me," said Bang, 22.
Sarah Bouchard, 16, is only in Grade 11, but this Red Deer student appreciated the chance she had to reflect about her future. "It is nicer out here than to be in the middle of a city," she said.
The vocation workshop is held annually and is open to people between the ages of 18 and 35, although younger and older participants are accepted.
Father Patrick O'Dea of Toronto was slated to lead this year's workshop but was unable to attend.
Three priests, five sisters and one member of the Oblate secular institute facilitated the workshop.
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