"Here I Am Lord" National Conference Part II
I am writing this post on Monday morning from Milwaukee where I arrived yesterday afternoon after finishing up the "Here I Am Lord" conference. (I came here to interview a man who is considering joining our community.) Saturday was a very full day with the high school students of the area. The host students did a fantastic job, including a skit concerning Jesus' help to us in resisting temptation which you can see on the left.
I believe that a big piece in the success story of this program is student/volunteer involvement at both the planning stage and at the actual weekend. The visiting students see a large group of their peers having fun and enjoying the programming. The director, Mike Zak, also pulls in some impressive speakers who speak honestly and frankly to the participating youth about vocations, chastity, marriage, their life with Jesus, etc. There is also time for prayer and the sacraments. A group of us priests heard confessions Saturday afternoon for a couple of hours. The afternoon then ended with a beautiful Liturgy led by Bishop Thomas Doran of the Rockford Diocese.
Sunday morning the parishioners had a chance to visit some of the displays before and after the Sunday Liturgies. Many commented that they have never seen so many Religious in one place.
As always is the case, I find the opportunity to visit with other Vocation Directors a big part of these types of weekends. It is good to share with the other priests, Brothers, and Sisters who engage in the same ministry and to swap ideas about and approaches to our work. It is obvious to all of us--and I hope to the participants in the conferences as well--that we all are serving the same Lord and his Church. We are not in competition, but each of us is there to help young men and women discern where the Lord is calling them to serve. The Church is alive and well in the hearts of our young people.