Sunday, May 21, 2006

planting seeds

Some thoughts on the Generation JPII fundraiser, mentioned here.

Generation JPII is a youth group in the Archdiocese of Louisville. Their mission statement:
Generation JPII is an association of youth and young adults who embrace a foundation, a mission, and a call. The foundation is the teaching of Jesus Christ elucidated by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. The mission is protection of the sanctity of human life. The foundation empowers the youth and young adults in this mission, guides them throughout their lives, secures their eternal destinies, and helps them guide more souls to Heaven. The call is to Sainthood. It is God's voice speaking in the depths of the human heart, clearly echoed in Pope John Paul II's love for the youth.

The fundraiser was a concert by the up-and-coming Catholic musician, Marie Miller, at the St. Philip Neri oratory. I wanted to go because I knew there would be tons of youth there and I had heard great things about this group. They only served to affirm the hope and optimism I have for great things on the horizon in the Archdiocese of Louisville. The Holy Spirit is doing great things in our youth who are on fire for their faith and are in love with the Church. It was so inspirational to be there! And I was amazed to see so many youth showed up for the concert! It was a family affair too, with many families bringing their young children. I hoped that I would be able to promote vocations by my presence there as a seminarian and hopefully encourage some young men to discern the priesthood.

I volunteered to work the door, selling tickets to the show and food tickets for concessions. I was looking for a young man I saw at the 8:30am Mass that morning. I was serving the Mass and noticed that he genuflected before receiving communion and then received on the tongue rather than in-hand which is a particularly devotional thing to do for some people. Then I noticed he was praying the rosary after Mass at one of the back pews. After Mass I approached him, asked him how he was doing, and asked if he knew of the G-JPII fundraiser that evening. He said he did so I told him I'd see him there.

At the fundraiser I talked briefly with some young adults who were running the show and others who recognized me as a seminarian. Apparantly, people actually pay attention to the seminarian posters around the Archdiocese! They were all very kind and supportive and interested in how my discernment was progressing.

During the intermission of the concert I managed to weasel my way into the program in order to make a brief announcement to introduce myself to the crowd. I wanted the youth to know that I was there if any of them had any questions whatsoever about the priesthood, seminary, or discernment in general. Throughout the rest of the show and mostly afterwards several teens approached me with various questions about seminary. And I was even able to catch up with the young man I saw earlier that day. I asked him if he had thought about the priesthood. He said he had so I encouraged him to keep praying about it, that our Lord would reveal to him His Will for his life, and that discernment is a beautiful thing :)

One seventh grader sort of latched onto me. He recognized me from when I spoke to his class with Fr. Naylor, when I was helping him out at St. Aloysius during the Triduum. He thought it was cool that we shared the same first name and he was glad that I came to answer his class's questions. I asked if he was an alter server and he said he was so I tried to affirm this particular calling that he was already living. Great kid, great personality. He has a sister who is a member of a religious order in D.C. and another sister discerning the same order. Maybe he has a vocation as well? St. Tarcisius, pray for him.

As a result of my schpeel several people, young and old, approached me with support and assurances of their prayers. I was also touched to receive several requests for prayers as well. One woman asked me if I would pray for her family who had fallen away from the Church. I assured her I would.

At the end of the day I estimated that G-JPII made about $1000, all going towards their upcoming 2nd annual Ignite Your Torch Conference. Go get 'em guys, rekindle the gift of God within you.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us!

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