Quo Vadis – Where Are You Going?
by Fr. Jared
Quo Vadis – Where are you going?
This Latin phrase has its origin in a story about St. Peter and Jesus. St. Peter was in Rome during a time of great persecution of the Church in the first century. The story says that St. Peter meets Jesus and asks him this question: Quo Vadis – Where are you going? Jesus replies saying: Romam vado iterum crucifigi – I am going to Rome to be crucified again. Upon hearing this Peter perseveres in his ministry and eventually is martyred himself in Rome. We know where Jesus went in response to His Father’s will. We know where Peter went in response to the Father’s will. What is the Father’s will for us? God has a plan for each of us. He calls each of us to serve him in very specific ways in different states of life. Most of you are called to holy married life. Some are called to faithful single life. Others are called to religious life. Some of us are called to the Priesthood. These are our vocations. Each of us, no matter the vocation God gives us, are called to serve him and his Church. We are called to serve one another. We are all invited to have a personal encounter with Christ. It is an encounter that changes us and those with whom we live and serve.
This past April on World Day of Prayer for Vocations Pope Francis said: “I want to ask you, has there been a time when you have heard the Lord’s voice, who through a desire, a restlessness, has invited you to follow him more closely?” He exhorted those who have heard such a call: “Ask Jesus what He wants of you, and be courageous!” Jesus speaks to each one of us. Jesus invites each of us to follow him more closely. That invitation is to a vocation that allows us to grow closer to God. The Priesthood is such an important and necessary vocation for our world and our Church. Without the Priest there is no Eucharist and without the Eucharist there is no Church. The diocese will be hosting vocation discernment days for young men ages 15-25. It will be held Wednesday, August 7th thru Saturday, August 10th, at the Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Newton, New Jersey. Quo Vadis Days are a time of recreation, fellowship, prayer and discussion to help young men explore our Lord’s call in their life. Activities will include prayer, Holy Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary, etc.), Reconciliation, hiking, games, bonfires, recreation and sports (soccer, capture the flag, volleyball, swimming, ultimate frisbee, flag football), talks, great food and discussions.
I have been involved in the two Quo Vadis retreats that the diocese has offered. This year will be my third time on the retreat. Many young priests and seminarians are present throughout the retreat. The retreat, like any retreat, is not about having a mystical life changing experience with God. I used to go on retreats with this goal. I was always disappointed. It is also not about becoming a priest or signing your life away. The retreat is an opportunity to grow closer to God, even in a small way. It is an opportunity to listen to God and perhaps be open to following him more closely in some way. It is an opportunity to spend time with other young men of similar age and to get to know them and share experiences, fears, and hopes, and faith.
If you are a young man between the ages 15-25 and are interested in this experience please speak with me. If not, please pray for the success of this retreat and for an increase in vocations. Prayer is a very powerful tool. A personal invitation is powerful as well. Please make a Priestly vocation a real option for your sons, grandsons, nephews, and neighbors. Tell them not to be afraid. Take courage and listen to the Lord. Where will you go?