Priest shortage leads students to plan retreat

April 11, 2011

Lloydminster – It was a warm summer day when my family and I pulled up to a small, welcoming church near a lake in southeast Saskatchewan. As we found a pew and took our seats, I wondered who the priest would be.

Three minutes later, as the procession made its way up the aisle, I did not see the priest.

I started to get upset thinking, "This is going to be a lay-led service. Why can't there be enough priests so people everywhere can have Mass?"

I thought, "Why can't other guys become priests." I have always wanted to be married, have lots of kids and raise a good Catholic family.

Little did I know that God had opened my heart to consider the priesthood.

Eight days later, I found myself at Ignite, a weeklong retreat put on by Face2Face Ministries. Each day was filled with talks, social time, Mass and adoration. During this time I finally opened my heart to Christ and said, "God, I will do whatever you want in my life."

I shared my thoughts about the priesthood with a counsellor who was also a seminarian. I questioned the feelings I was having. A priest recommended attending discernment weekends and nurturing my call.

As Ignite ended, I was so filled with the Holy Spirit that I felt like I could conquer the world. I prayed, asking God to help me discern what to do. I Google searched vocations retreats, discernment weekends, and Come and See weekends, but I couldn't find what I was looking for.

I wondered, "Would I ever get a chance to even attend a vocations retreat?" I began dreaming about a vocations retreat where all vocations would be discussed and the dignity of each one would be celebrated.

After several meetings with the local Ukrainian Catholic priest, the vocations retreat I was dreaming about started to take shape.

We chose April 29 to May 1 at Holy Spirit Church in Lloydminster.

As for myself, God made it clear that for now I need to focus on what is going on around me - finishing Grade 12, planning the vocations retreat, living every moment for what it offers, and learning to know, love and serve God in all that I do.

I am not sure to what God is calling me. For now I am going to do my best to praise God in all that I do.

If you are a young person trying to discern what you are called to, whether it is the priesthood, religious life, marriage or to be single, check out our website,