Bishop invites youth to vocation dinners
It’s impossible to miss the look of joy on Bishop John Brungardt’s face when around young people showing an interest in a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
Beginning in February and continuing into April, Bishop Brungardt and Father Wesley Schawe have been meeting at each deanery with high school aged boys interested in learning about what it is like to be a priest. Three dinners are for high school boys and a fourth dinner will be given for post high school men.
Priests in the boy’s parishes have invited them and the priests attend the dinner also.
“What’s your favorite movie?” one boy asked the bishop at a recent gathering for the Dodge City Deanery.
“I like ‘The Lord of the Rings,’” the bishop replied, “and ‘Marvin’s Room’”
“Who’s your favorite saint?”
“St. John Bosco,” said the bishop, adding that the saint was his namesake. Becky Hessman, Coordinator of Vocations, started the gathering with an ice-breaker of sorts, in which each participant interviewed a priest, and the priest interviewed them. They then shared with the group what they learned about each other.
The group enjoyed dinner together, and then listened to a presentation by Bishop Brungardt, Father Schawe, Director of Priestly Vocations, and other priests who attended.
One of the highlights of the evening was hearing the priests share their own vocation story. The evening concluded with evening prayer and each boy receiving a rosary blessed by Bishop Brungardt.
Using his copy of the painting, “The Adoration of the Magi,” the bishop shared a lesson in which he examined each part of the painting. He looked at the Magi and the gifts they brought, examining the significance of each. He pointed out Joseph, “protector and guardian of the Christ child and Mary. …You guys are called to be guardians and protectors, maybe of your wife and children, maybe of a parish, like Father Ted number one,” he said, motioning to Father Ted Skalsky, “or Father Ted number two,” he said, pointing out Father Ted Stoecklein…. “Or you may be called to be guardian and protector of a diocese; that would be like me!
“Who’s Mary looking at?” the bishop asked the boys. “At all these fancy kings and gifts? No. She doesn’t care about these things. She cares about the Christ child, her Son. That helps us remember that she’s always leading us to Jesus. We have a great devotion to the blessed Mother Mary through group prayer, the rosary, and private prayer. She will help us come to her son.”
And finally the bishop said, “How about Jesus? What’s he doing? You can barely see it. Jesus is always reaching out. To all of us. Who does he want us to be? He has a wonderful plan for each of you guys. The key is to listen. Does Jesus want you to be a priest? A husband and dad? A bishop? Jesus will tell you. He loves you more than you can ask or imagine.”
Father Schawe told the boys that they were there because someone invited them, someone who saw certain characteristics “that you should be proud of.
“First of all, I think you might have been invited because you love the Catholic faith. You love being Catholic; living the faith.”
Another reason, he said is “because you love to serve. Not just at Mass, but even in a more general sense; because you love to serve other people, love to help others. Chances are your pastors see that in you as well.
“Finally, I think that you were perhaps invited because you want to know what God has planned for you. ‘I want to want’ what God wants….
“Does God want each of you individuals to be a priest? I don’t know the answer to that question; you may not know right now…. But that’s okay. This gives you the opportunity to ask that question. Who is it that God want me to be?”