Nov. 28, 2018 - This past month, throughout the East Coast, vocation awareness events were held at more than 90% of Jesuit apostolates in the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces. The significance of November as a month of vocation themed events stems from National Jesuit Vocation Day, which falls on Nov. 5. Jesuit colleges and high schools took this opportunity to engage students to help them discern where God may be calling them. But discussions about Jesuit vocations were not just limited to schools on the East Coast, they also took place at parishes, retreat houses and even international works.
Below are highlights from just a few of these works that have spent this month encouraging people to pursue their vocations.
One of the easiest ways to help someone begin discerning a vocation is through a verbal recognition of their abilities. To help promote this, Matt Lopez, SJ, sponsored a “Jesuit Compliment” day at Gonzaga College High School. Teachers and staff at the school were invited to offer a “Jesuit Compliment” to a Gonzaga student with a big heart and the capacity to be a Jesuit. The idea is to tell a young man that he would make a good Jesuit. The Jesuit Compliment can go a long way.
Fr. Rudy Casals, SJ, assistant director and promoter of vocations for the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces, visited Fairfield College Prep on Thurs., Nov. 1, to celebrate the school’s All Saints Day Mass. His homily had a vocation theme to it. Additionally, the school wide prayer on Nov. 5, was focused on vocations and was led by one of the student altar servers.
Several Jesuit deacons in formation living in the St. Peter Faber Community at Boston College preached at the six BC student Masses on Nov. 4. They were accompanied by their brother scholastics, who stayed after Mass to spend social time with students and share snacks.
The office of mission and ministry at Georgetown University expanded its Jesuit Heritage Week into Jesuit Heritage Month. The monthlong celebration began with a Mass at Gaston Hall on Sun., Nov. 4, which was concelebrated by members of the university’s Jesuit community. Prayers for Jesuit vocations were offered during the Mass.
On Mon., Nov. 5, a group of Jesuit scholastics visited classes at BC High and spoke about Jesuit vocations. "Tasty Tuesdays," a mid-morning coffee and donut break for students and teachers was held at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and was sponsored by the scholastics who shared with their friends and colleagues the joy of living a Jesuit life.
Scholastics from Ciszek Hall in the Bronx came to Fordham Prep where they spoke to junior religious studies classes about their vocation stories.
McQuaid Jesuit hosted a “Meet the Jesuits” panel on Nov. 5. At this event, students heard from Frs. Al Hicks, SJ, Bob Reiser, SJ, and Ed Salmon, SJ, about their own vocation stories. A Q&A session followed.
Regis High School in New York City held two lunch time meetings on Nov. 5. Students had the opportunity to converse with Frs. AJ Rizzo, SJ, and Paddy Hough, SJ, about their Jesuit vocations and fielded questions from students about a vocation to the Jesuits.
Fr. Phil Florio, SJ, provincial assistant for vocations for the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces, traveled to Cheverus High School in Maine. While there he gave a presentation on vocations to members of the junior and senior classes.
St. Raphael Parish in Raleigh, N.C., took part in Vocations Month by holding a Holy Hour for Jesuit Vocations on Tues., Nov. 6.
In honor of the recent canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Canisius College and One Jesuit Buffalo held a joint evening at Loyola Hall with a screening of the film Romero. Pizza was served, and the movie was followed by a discussion about Jesuit vocations.
On Sun., Nov. 11, Fr. Florio visited the University of Scranton where he served as the celebrant and homilist at the 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. campus Masses. After the second Mass, members of the Jesuit community presented the discussion "Voice of Vocation: Jesuits' Journeys" which included the opportunity for individual Jesuits to talk briefly about their own vocation stories. Attendees were treated to soft pretzels and root beer floats.
Canisius High School offered special prayers at their morning Mass, as well as a special prayer over the school-wide speaker system. The four Jesuits who work at the school - Frs. Dave Ciancimino, Michael Corcoran, Adelmo Dunghe, and Richard Zanoni - visited the senior religion classes that day and shared their vocation stories.
Loyola Jesuit Center in Morristown, N.J., held a discernment retreat from Nov. 16-18, for 17 men discerning the Society. Five Jesuit scholastics - Jason Downer, Brendan Coffey, Adam Rosinski, Matt Lopez and Sean Hagerty - joined Frs. Florio, SJ, and Casals, SJ, in giving witness talks and leading small groups and faith sharing opportunities. There were daily Masses and times for silent prayer and meditation. All 17 men had opportunities for individual conversations with the vocation director.
Fr. John Wronski, SJ, provincial assistant for formation for the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces, traveled to the Pacific to visit Xavier High School in Chuuk. Fr. Wronski spoke to the students during their 8:30 a.m. assembly about vocations.