The call of the Lord Print this post

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/9/17

You don’t have to be an angel to serve the Lord. This was the message sixth graders attending Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Venice have heard during a series of Vocations Fairs at the three area Catholic High Schools in October and November.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane told the young men and women that there is a call of the Lord regardless of your interests in sports, music, science or any other area.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane is seen at the conclusion of a Vocations Day with sixth graders from St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Ann Catholic Schools and the Donahue Academy at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples on Nov. 17.

“God has created you to do Him some definite service,” Bishop Dewane said, noting that no one can tell them what it is they are called to do. “Who has to find out what it is you are called to do? You do! You must! How do you do it? Listen to the Lord in your life. Prayer has to be an important part of this, because we need to talk to the Lord. And when we do talk to the Lord, He will let you know either directly or through others, who you are called to become. But you have to be listening.”

Each Vocations Fair focused on encouraging the sixth graders to begin to think about what the Lord wants them to do and where He is leading them. Diocese of Venice Vocations Director Father Eric Scanlan said these young men and women are old enough to know their place in the world and to hear the call God has for them.

Sixth graders from St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Ann Catholic Schools and the Donahue Academy participate in fun and games during a Vocations Day at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples on Nov. 17.

“It may not always be clear to you right now what that call might be,” Father Scanlan said. “I didn’t know my vocation to the priesthood until I was in college. But I always kept my heart open. You have to be open to the limitless possibilities. A call to serve the Lord in a particular way through a vocation to religious life or priesthood, is something that does not come easily or lightly. The first step is to pray. God helps us with the grace we need at the moment.”

Sister Katie Flanagan, FMA, a teacher at St. John Neumann Catholic High School, spoke about her spiritual journey to finding her vocation to a religious life, something she scoffed at until her path changed when someone suggested she go on a retreat with religious sisters. The rest is a wonderful life for Sister Katie, “I have never looked back. My heart was filled with the love of the Lord and that is all I can ask.”

Sixth graders from St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Ann Catholic Schools and the Donahue Academy participate in a Vocations Day at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples on Nov. 17.

In addition to hearing vocation stories from gathered priests and religious, the sixth graders participated in fun games which allowed for participation by all and for the students to realize that the religious and priests are not that different from them because they also like to have fun.

 

Separate sessions were held for the boys and girls to allow for more open discussions as well as question and answer opportunities.

 

As Bishop Dewane reminded them, they don’t have to be angels to serve the Lord as a religious or priest. “The Lord wants you just the way you are, and you will serve in His name in a particular way. I have no doubt some of you will follow this path, while others will serve the Lord in a different way. You have to take the special gifts God has given you and go out and make the most of them in how you answer this call from the Lord.”

 

The Vocations Fairs took place Oct. 26 at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota for students at St. Joseph, St. Martha, Epiphany and Incarnation Catholic Schools as well as St. Mary Academy. The Fair at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers was Nov. 2 and hosted students from St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis Xavier and St. Andrew Catholic Schools. The Fair at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples on Nov. 17 included students from St. Ann and St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Schools and the Donahue Academy.

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