Sunday kicked off National Vocation Awareness Week, when the Catholic Church works to promote vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life through prayer, invitation and education, and to renew prayers and support for those who are discerning.
In the Viatorian Community, the week gives Br. Peter Lamick, CSV, Director of Vocation Ministry, the chance to meet young people where they are at, in Viatorian parishes and schools, and at local universities.
“This week, so much is happening in the church to promote vocations to religious life and priesthood,” Br. Lamick says. “It gives me so much hope to see lay ministers and members of religious institutes undertaking creative efforts to educate youth and young adults about these vocations.
The week started Saturday, when Br. Lamick traveled to Bourbonnais for a young adult gathering. Knowing that most vocations result from relationships formed with Viatorians, he brought in reinforcements, including: Fr. Dan Belanger, Br. John Eustice, Fr. Moises Mesh, Fr. Jason Nesbit, Br. Jhobany Orduz and Br. Rob Robertson.
The gathering started with lunch at St. George Parish, followed by two hours of faith sharing on the Sunday gospel reading, and a vigil mass at Maternity BVM Parish. The afternoon drew three young men, all of whom have had experiences with the Viatorians.
On Tuesday, Br. John Eustice and Br. Lamick will visit theology classes at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, where they will share their own vocation stories and how religious life is lived out.
The next day, Wednesday, Br. Lamick and Pre-Associate Dan Masterton, Director of Pastoral Ministries, will visit with Saint Viator High School alumni at Creighton University in Omaha. During the visit, they will have the chance to sit in on a men’s faith sharing group, started by one of the Saint Viator graduates, before attending Mass and dinner with the group.
“Viatorian visits to alumni away at college foster a sense of community that transcends the physical campus of Saint Viator High School,” Br. Lamick said last week, after visiting with alumni attending the University of Notre Dame. “They remind our alumni that they always have a home to return to.”
Finally on Friday, Br. Lamick will share a vocations presentation to the entire school body, at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Cristo Rey Jesuit was the first of the Cristo Rey schools to open in 1996, dedicated to the mission of offering a college prep education to young people of limited means on Chicago’s Southwest side.
The school pioneered the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) model for inner-city education that has inspired a national network of 38 schools serving low-income communities across the country, including Cristo Rey St. Viator in North Las Vegas, which opened in 2019.