A dozen young men gathered to consider vocation awareness at a day led by Father Brandon Macadaeg at Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont.
Three friends develop program
to help youth consider vocation
A dozen young men gathered March 15 for a "Come and See" visit to consider vocation awareness at Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont.
The young men from various backgrounds and parishes throughout the Diocese of Oakland were invited by Rev. Brandon Macadaeg, Holy Spirit parochial vicar, who was ordained last year.
"The idea of the get-together is to have fun, talk about life and grow closer to God and His Church. We [priests, laity and the Church] would like to support you, any way we can in your life, especially as you discern God's call. This get-together is meant to support your future through friendship and discernment," Father Macadaeg told the group.
The idea of having a "Come and See" for high school and college-aged men resulted from a conversation among three friends: Michael Sullivan, youth minister at St. Margaret Mary, Father Macadaeg and Wesley Williams, a father of two young children, a Fremont businessman, and parishioner of Holy Spirit.
"As a returning Catholic, I know we need good, solid and joyful priests — we deserve it — that's why I returned. We also need courageous and caring fathers and husbands. It's so important that young men of today discover how to be prayerful, loving, respectful and joyful Christian gentlemen," Williams said.
The "Come and See" started with an opening prayer, a tour of the Holy Spirit campus, followed by a basketball game. After about an hour of basketball, generous benefactors from around the diocese provided lunch, beverages and dessert. Shortly after lunch, the young men were invited to Eucharistic Adoration in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel, where Confession and spiritual direction were available.
"The cathedral isn't the best place to get a basketball game going, so it was nice to come to a parish where we could pray and play," Paul York, an episcopal server at the Cathedral, said.
Father Macadaeg spoke of vocations and reminded the young men "we all have a vocation. Some of us will be called to married life. Others will be called to single life. And, some of you will be called to priesthood or religious life."
After Father Macadaeg's talk, the young men discussed with each other where they are in their discernment. After a short basketball game and small snack, the afternoon concluded with Mass.
"I really enjoyed myself. I can't wait for next month's gathering. I'm glad to be a part of this monthly gathering of young men, in which we are able to have fun, grow in our Faith, and enjoy a nice Coca-Cola with a slice of Maui Zaui Pizza," said Ryan Lee from St. Joseph Church in Fremont.
Nars Bernardo from Holy Spirit said, "It definitely was great getting to know other guys who are open to the priesthood. I look forward to next month's gathering.
"We plan on starting a similar gathering for young women, with the assistance of a local women's religious community. Also, we plan on taking field trips. I hope we all can go to a baseball game, serve in our diocesan soup kitchen, do things as a group, that help all of us serve others, while at the same time healthily discerning God's will. Pope Francis says it best: 'Be active members! Go on the offensive! Play down the field, build a better world, a world of brothers and sisters, a world of justice, of love, of peace, of fraternity, of solidarity.'"
The "Come and See" gatherings for young men and women are open to all youth in high school and young adults in college. For more information regarding this grassroots vocation awareness effort, or if you would like to support this, please contact: Michael Sullivan, youth minister, at St. Margaret Mary: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Michael X. Sullivan is youth minister at St. Margaret Mary Parish, Oakland.)
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