I can think of no better way to end the Church’s prayerful celebration of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica and the final day of Vocations Awareness Week, than to have a youth mass at St. Norbert Parish in Paoli, Pa with my confreres in formation. The night began with a Youth Mass, which was completely packed with such dedicated souls, eager to give praise to God for all His blessings He has bestowed on this assembly. The Mass was wonderfully presided by Fr. Abbot Richard Antonucci, Abbot of Daylesford Abbey, and the homily was given by Fr. John Zagarella, who preceded to tell the faithful about the importance of listening to God’s call for them in their lives; especially the call to a religious vocation. My fellow confreres and a portion of the formation group from the Immaculate Hear of Mary Sisters (IHM) led the procession in and out at this Mass, visibly demonstrating the closeness of our two orders and also our support of religious vocations in the parish community.
The second part of the night consisted of a vocations awareness program that was put together by Fr. John Joseph Novielli, Vocations Director at Daylesford Abbey. Yours truly participated in the program, along with my fellow Novice, Sam Fulginiti, who is now into his second year of the novitiate. We also were blessed by the presence and contributions of two of the second year novices from the IHM’s. Our goal was to communicate to the St.Norbert youth group the joys of discerning the Lords call, and how we answered this call by our saying “Yes” to religious life. We heard some fantastic witnessing last night from our religious life participants and the youth group asked us all challenging questions about what our life is like as a religious and the particulars of living out the vows we will soon take over the next few years. All in attendance left the parish event feeling blessed by God for such a prayerful night and hopeful that this young and faithful gathering will someday pursue a vocation to the Priesthood or Religious Life. Thanks be to God!