USA: SEEK24 Vocations Conference listening to the Redemptorists

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SEEK24 Vocations Conference
by Fr. Denis Sweeney, C.Ss.R. and Fr. Peter Linh Nguyen, C.Ss.R.

Fr. Peter and I along with Fr. Chuong Cao, Vocation Director for our Denver Province, attended the SEEK24 Conference that was held in St. Louis, Missouri, January 1-5. There were over 22,000 college students, graduate men and women, hundreds of religious women and men, priests, bishops and two cardinals along with keynote speakers, lecturers, choir, musical groups and all sorts of vendors witnessing to the overwhelming love of God.

It all took place at the St. Louis Convention Center and it was wonderful to behold. How blessed to see hundreds of priests and seminarians, an arena filled each morning at 8:30 with our young in celebration of the Mass. An arena Spirit-filled.

One of the blessed occurrences for the three of us as Redemptorists was to share a booth with Sr. Anna of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and with Sr. Ruby and Sr. Meena, Religious of Mary Immaculate. Sr. Ruby and Sr. Meena, along with Sr. Gloria and Sr. Rosario, live right across the street from us at Centro Maria on Jackson Street. There they offer housing accommodations for young women, ages 18-30, during their college studies and their working experience.

Sr. Anna informed us that her Order was founded by a Redemptorist, then the Archbishop of Oregon City, William Hickley Gross, C.Ss.R. He had earlier been Bishop of Savannah, Georgia (1873-1885) and then made Archbishop of Oregon City (1885-1898). He founded the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon in 1886. Archbishop William Gross is now buried in our Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Baltimore, Md.

So, here we were at the one booth! Three Redemptorists founded by St. Alphonsus, a Sister of St. Mary of Oregon founded by a Redemptorist, Archbishop William Gross, C.Ss.R., and our beloved Religious of Mary Immaculate. There we were, three Orders witnessing as one to the Love of Jesus Christ!

Our booth was a joyful scene. If men came by the Sister’s would draw them over to us. If women came by, we would draw them to Sr. Anna or to Sr. Ruby or to Sr. Meena. We had a spinning wheel at the booth that would stop at a different color on the wheel. Each color would have its own set of questions about the Bible, or about the Sacraments or general questions about the faith and vocations.

It was a drawing card to bring many men and women to our booth and many expressed their appreciation of our zeal and enthusiasm in drawing them to the wheel. Everyone won at the wheel! No one left our booth without feeling like a winner! The prizes were a great assortment of buttons, of wristbands, of spiritual magnets, of prayer cards to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, of bookmarks, of discernment literature.

Here we were as women and men witnessing to the Consecrated Life and to the Priesthood. A joyful spirit at our booth. I think that joyful spirit was the greatest prize of all. The smiles, the laughter that we shared with all that came by our booth. The chance to talk about our different vocations, the chance to sit down with some and listen to their own journey with God. A blessed occurrence indeed for our three Orders sharing a booth.

In other news … this February 2-3-4 we will have our next “Come and Pray” at St. Clement Mission House, Ephrata, Pa. and at the Shrine of St. John Neumann, C.Ss.R., St. Peter the Apostle Church, Philadelphia, Pa. Please remember in your prayers the candidates who will be attending that they will answer the call to follow Jesus as Redemptorists. Continue to pray for our seminarians at St. Alphonsus Formation House, Bronx, NY, our novices in Mexico and our seminarians in San Antonio, Texas.

Let us never underestimate the power of prayer. May Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, watch over us. May, St. Alphonsus, St. Clement, St. Gerard, St. John Neumann and all our Blessed and Martyrs, intercede for us.

(source: North American Conference of Redemptorists, Facebook)

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What is SEEK24?
SEEK24 is a five-day Catholic conference hosted by FOCUS (The Fellowship of Catholic University Students) to encounter Jesus Christ and draw deeper into relationship with Him and His Church.

SEEK24 Catholic conference in St. Louis has been held from Jan. 1–5, 2024.

What is SEEK in St Louis?
SEEK is a collaboration led by FOCUS, a Catholic outreach organization that shares the hope and joy of the Gospel with the world. FOCUS missionaries encounter people in friendship, invite them into a personal relationship with Christ and accompany them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence.

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