Beginning Thursday afternoon, February 22, I participated in a "Here I Am Lord" youth conference at Saint Patrick Parish in St. Charles, IL. I was supposed to be there through tomorrow morning, but the weather influenced my decision to come home early. But not after experiencing a very heart-warming day and a half in my home State.
I found the time heart-warming for two reasons. First, the openness and the enthusiasm of the young people who participated was very impressive. The majority were middle school students (the high school students didn't make it due to a basketball championship game). These youngsters were open to meeting and talking about vocations and about their faith. That is exciting to me.
The other positive piece was the opportunity to meet with other Religious. There were 30 to 40 different Congregations and Orders represented. Men and women Religious of all kinds, each with his/her own community charism and specific way of living the Gospel message of service. Many were fellow Vocation Directors and it is always good to meet with my co-workers in that exciting ministry to our young men and women.
So even though I had to leave early, I thank God for the boost in the arm that the experienced proved to be--and I look forward to returning next year.