By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
IRVING – If attendance at a recent St. Andrew’s Dinner is an indicator, the future of priestly vocations in the Diocese of Dallas is promising.
Sixty-two young men, high-school-aged or older, and their families attended the St. Andrew’s Dinner sponsored by the Diocese of Dallas Office of Vocation on Nov. 7 at Holy Trinity Seminary. A St. Andrew’s Dinner provides an opportunity for young men interested in priestly vocations to meet, pray, dialogue, and dine with the bishop and diocesan priests in a “no pressure” atmosphere.
The young men on Nov. 7 were joined in the evening of prayer and fellowship by Bishop Edward J. Burns, Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly, seminary rector Father Vincent Anyama, seminarians, and a number of diocesan priests.
Father Mark Garrett, diocesan director of vocations, called the evening a success, noting that it was one of the most well-attended St. Andrew’s Dinners in years.
“We had several young men who had never been to the seminary before, many did not even know we had a seminary within our diocese,” Father Garrett said. “It would be a successful evening if we only spent time praying for vocations, but with the amount that attended, there was a real energy in the room, a curious seeking energy which is contagious and can open us to how God’s grace is moving in our lives.”
Father Garrett said attendees participated in the prayer life of the seminary and of priesthood, praying evening prayer, adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament and a shared meal.
“They truly entered the life the disciples lived with Jesus throughout scripture,” he explained. “That experience of community and fraternity is something I hope they walk away with from the dinner. However, I hope they also realize now that discerning the call to priesthood is not only a serious endeavor, but one which every one of them is called to do.
“Every young man in the Church should at least consider the priesthood,” Father Garrett added. “For if he finds God calling him to it, he will find more than just the joy of his life, he will find the beauty, truth and goodness of this world. He will find God himself speaking those eternal words to His disciples, ‘Come and follow me.’”
Read more in the Nov. 17 print edition of The Texas Catholic.