Last week was National Vocation Awareness Week and it was full of great opportunities to pray together and to learn more about discerning the vocation to which God has called each of us. And the excitement of that week was peaked by the huge news coming out of our local seminary.
With more and more men responding to the call being placed on their hearts through the grace effected by our continued prayers, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West has run out of room and, with the future looking bright, it was time to expand and make room for 30 more men to study at this historic facility! Here is the coverage of the ground breaking ceremony which happened on November 2nd:
This news of an expanding seminary can be quite a shock to those who are still living with the negative view of the priesthood that has been around for almost 20 years here in the United States and one news station took the time to look much deeper and find the source of this rise in vocations is actually coming from the least likeliest of places – millenials:
In addition to that great news and wonderful news coverage, more than 75 communities from across the state of Ohio prayed together during the Statewide Day of Adoration for Vocations on Wednesday. Religious communities, parishes and even Catholic High Schools joined together to beg the harvest master to send more laborers into the harvest. It was a beautiful experience for many:
We had a beautiful holy hour! We had over 15 people in our small convent. – Sr. Ana, OSC from the Sisters of St. Clare Poor Clares
We had a wonderful experience at St. Augustine in Minster. Parishioners commented how much they enjoyed a dedicated hour focused on praying for vocations… – Barb from St. Augustine, Minster, OH
I had some good time to think about and pray for many of the priests and nuns who’ve been a part of my life, some whom I
haven’t thought about in years, and at least one person (the priest who baptized me) that I’ve never met. I also prayed in a special way for my kids and their vocations, some of which have already been discerned, and some which are still in the process. – Joe from Ascension, Kettering, OH
And finally, the Serra Club of Cincinnati was able to complete their 9 day Bible Reading Novena during which they dedicated nearly 12 hours a day in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and recitation of the scriptures for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
These dedicated prayers across the state of Ohio are truly having a great impact on our local church and priestly and religious vocations are seeing a great time of flourishing. May we all continue to pray for our men and women in formation and for each other that we may have the courage to seek God’s will in our lives.
We are excited to announce the latest video for our Buckeye Vocations YouTube channel. This time we were able to sit down with Deacon Jarred Kohn who was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate on April 29, 2017 and is about to enter his final year of seminary formation before being ordained a priest. In this first video he talks about his discernment journey and gives us some great advice on how to deal with doubt in discernment. Enjoy!
For those who would rather not watch the video, the full transcript is below.
Full Video Transcript:
Where do you call home?
My home parish is St. Mary in Philothea, which is up in the Coldwater Cluster which is in Mercer County or “God’s country” as we like to call it back home.
How long have you been in the seminary?
Well, I think it would be 7 or 8 years depending on how you count. I started in 2009, which would be 8 years, but I did take a year off after my freshman year, just [sic] discernment can be tricky.
So, why did you decide to leave?
I didn’t actually decide after my freshman year that, “Okay, this isn’t for me; I need to take a year off,” or whatever. My intention was, at the end of that year, to come back. But I was working somewhere and I had to be there at 4:45 in the morning which meant that, I never really got to daily Mass, that often. But it was also at 4:45 in the morning so I wasn’t dedicated enough to do Liturgy of the Hours and pray the Office of Readings or morning prayer that I now promise to do everyday but at the time it wasn’t necessarily a requirement. So, my spiritual life, kind of, you know, wasn’t as important at that time. And as a result of that I think I began to waver. Also, kind of, entering seminary I never intended to go to college after high school, so it was a difficult year to adjust to academic life, to life in the city; all these different factors (being away from my family), all kind of hit me the summer coming back.
So what happened next?
I called the vocation director at the time and he said, “Take a year. Do what you need to do.” So, I called the rector at Brute College Seminary and he was also very supportive. So I began working and my summer job eventually transferred into going back to a welding career which meant working third shift. That was actually pretty nice for the spiritual life in a way because I could get home early in the morning, go to morning Mass, do my morning prayer and office of readings, then go to bed. Then I’d wake up, and was able to do evening prayer, night prayer and all that stuff, so it kind of got me back into a rhythm. Once that started happening, then all of a sudden God began speaking again like, “Hey, what about seminary?”
What other ways did you develop your prayer life?
As I mentioned, going to Mass more frequently. I was pretty much going everyday but, you know, that isn’t necessary and perhaps isn’t even practical for everybody, but going as often as you can, even during the week. But then also, frequent confession was also a big thing. It helps us to clear out the obstacles that are keeping us from the Lord and helps us also to examine what is going on in our heart and kind of flood out what is our self-will and what is our sinful nature and sort out what is that part of us that is naturally attracted to God. Then there is private prayer. I feel blessed in growing up in a country parish because still to this day, we have 24 hours a day that the church is open so to spend that private time with the Lord in the blessed sacrament has always been a source of, you know, has always been the most important part of my spiritual life; the opportunity to spend that time with Lord has always been that key.
How do you deal with doubt in discernment?
You know I think it’s an important aspect of taking on the diaconate and priesthood but it’s also an element that can make guys waver, it’s that realization that, “I’m not worthy of this.” Which is true! But it’s also not yours to take on. It’s really Christ who is really taking you into his life and his own ministry. It is not something you can simply posses by your own merit. I’m never going to be a good priest because I’m Jarred; I’m going to be a good priest because I’ve allowed Christ to take ownership of my heart and I’ve taken ownership of his and so we have that mutual relationship. So without some recognition that I’m a flawed human being and in some ways I’m also a goofy and quirky guy but somehow Jesus is still calling me to this and calls other guys who are all different and he wants to speak through each one of our personalities to the people of God and wants to, you know, draw the entire world to himself. It’s just crazy. It’s awesome!
On Saturday, May 21, 2017, the Archdiocese celebrated the ordination to the priesthood of three men: Fr. David Doseck, Fr. Peter Langenkamp, and Fr. Alexander Witt. Please join us in continuing to pray for these men as they begin their priesthood! Also, please take some time to relive the exciting day by viewing the photo gallery below!
This past Saturday was another great day for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as 4 young men- Craig Best, Jarred Kohn, Andrew Smith and Jacob Willig- were ordained transitional deacons by Bishop Joseph Binzer at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains. It was a beautifully celebrated ceremony with a palpable sense of joy emanating from the newly ordained men, Bishop Binzer, the concelebrating priests, the numerous permanent deacons who came to celebrate and the entire assembly! To relive this wonderful day or to check out a few of the highlights that you missed, go to our newest photo gallery below! Please continue to pray for these men as they now enter their last year of formation toward priesthood.
Yesterday, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati celebrated the Chrism Mass. While this is the Mass at which all the holy oils are blessed and dispersed to all the parishes of the Archdiocese it is also the day on which all the priests renew the promises they made on the day of their ordination. Today we share with you an interview with Fr. Tim Fahey who was ordained just less than a year ago. He shares with us his experience of his ordination and his first Mass and also gives some beautiful advice for men discerning their vocation to the priesthood. Please continue to pray for Fr. Fahey and all our priests as they fulfill with great zeal the vocation to which God has called them.
March is a very busy time for Vocation directors both at the diocesan level and in religious communities and that means there are a plethora of opportunities for you to take some quality time to discern your vocation both within and without specific religious communities. Check out all these upcoming Spring discernment opportunities and make a plan this Lent to respond to that tug you feel on your heart.
MARCH 9: MONTHLY HOLY HOUR FOR CONSECRATED VOCATIONS
CHOSEN: Monthly Holy Hour for those discerning a Vocation or praying for Vocations – March 9, beginning at 8pm at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center in Norwood OH. Sponsored by the Archdiocese Vocations Office and the Children of Mary. Chosen: Every 2nd Thursday of the Month. Come and bring a friend!
March 10-12: “Is it I, God? Discerning a Call to Religious Life”
Dominican Sisters of Peace invite single, Catholic women, ages 18-45, to attend a free “Come and See” Discernment Retreat designed to explore contemporary Dominican life for women. Experience Dominican prayer and community with the Sisters, reflect on God’s call for your life and explore contemporary Dominican life as a Sister. The retreat begins at 4:30pm Friday, March 10 and concludes at noon, Sunday, March 12 at the Dominicans Sisters of Peace Motherhouse, 2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219. For more information, call or text Sister June Fitzgerald at 570-336-3991 or email email@example.com. Participants may register online for the retreat or request a registration form at http://www.oppeace.org/thinking-about-religious-life. (Some travel assistance is available on a need basis.)
March 10-12: The door is open…will you walk in? Come and See Weekend
The Sisters of the Precious Blood invite all young women discerning a call to the religious life to learn about life as a woman religious, the meaning of our religious vows, the power of prayer and the reality of community in the life and minister of the Sisters. The retreat runs from Friday, March 10 at 5pm to Sunday, March 12 at Noon. Please register by March 3 to Sr. Patty Kremer, CPPS, Coordinator of Vocation Ministry at 937-609-0653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 10-12: Missionaries of the Precious Blood Discernment retreat
The Missionaries of the Precious Blood are holding a discernment retreat on March 10-12 at St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio. Men age 18 or older are invited to attend the retreat, which begins with dinner on Friday and ends after lunch on Sunday. To reserve your place at the retreat or to learn more, contact Fr. Steve Dos Santos, CPPS, director of vocations, at email@example.com or 937-228-9263.
MARCH 12: HOLY HOUR FOR PRIESTLY VOCATIONS
Come to a Holy Hour for Vocations to the Priesthood at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary. The Holy Hour will take place in the St. Gregory the Great Chapel at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, located on the Athenaeum campus, 6616 Beechmont Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45230.
MARCH 17-18: MOUNT ST. MARY’S SEMINARY WELCOME WEEKEND
The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s of the West is once again hosting its annual Welcome Weekend for all men college-age and older who are discerning their call to the Catholic priesthood. The weekend begins at 4:30 on Friday evening and ends with dinner at 6:00 pm Saturday. There is no cost to attend. For more details or to register contact Fr. Schmitmeyer at 513-421-3131 x.2890 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit CincinnatiVocations.org and click on “Events.”
March 17-19: COME & SEE RETREAT: Glenmary Home Missioners
Men ages 15-19 are invited to visit with Glenmary priests and brothers, travel to a nearby mission, and share in community prayer and reflection. They will also have the opportunity to meet other men who are discerning their call. For more details or to register call 513-881- 7411 or email email@example.com.
MARCH 23-25: PONTIFICAL COLLEGE JOSEPHINUM SPRING LIVE-IN
High school aged men who are discerning their call to the priesthood are invited to attend the Pontifical College Josephinum Spring-Live in from March 23-25. Men will have the chance to pray, eat and attend classes with current seminarians as well as get the chance to hear all about life in the seminary and the formation process. All who are interested in attending should contact the vocation office at 513-421-3131 or visit www.pcj.edu/discernment-seminary-life/visit-josephinum/.
March 24-26: Marianist Discernment Retreat
Open to all men and women ages 18 – 30 exploring the possibility of Marianist Religious life. For more information, please contact Sr. Nicole Trahan, FMI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 30-April 1: Congregation of the Holy Cross Come & See Weekend
The Congregation of Holy Cross welcomes high school juniors to a weekend at Old College, the undergraduate seminary on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, March 30 – April 1, 2017. Contact the Office of Vocations at 574-631-6385 or email us at email@example.com for more information.
March 31-April 2: Live Joyfully Retreat
The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods is hosting a weekend discernment retreat for women ages 18-42 at their motherhouse in Saint Mary of the Woods, IN. The retreat is free. Register on line at comeandsee.sistersofprovidence.org. For more details contact Editha Ben at 812-230-4771 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
APRIL 26: R U CALLED: DINNER FOR WOMEN DISCERNING CONSECRATED LIFE
Young women juniors in high school and older are invited to a great discernment opportunity on Wednesday, April 26 from 5-8pm. Women will hear from Sr. Tracy Kemme, SC and Jacquie Lustig, RC as well as from Archbishop Schnurr. They will have the opportunity to visit with numerous religious communities as well as other women in discernment. Register online by clicking the link above.
In the coming months, the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West will be hosting two free discernment events for Catholic single men who are discerning a call to the priesthood.
The first event is a Ministry Evening on Wednesday, January 25th. This evening is open to men aged 18-35 and begins at 4:30pm with registration, followed by Mass, dinner, and talks about discernment. If you want to discover who God wants you to be, this is a great opportunity to discern your vocation.
The second event is a Welcome Weekend on March 17th and 18th. This weekend is open to men college aged and older. This overnight experience allows you to meet the faculty, staff and seminarians, pray and attend Mass and learn more about discerning your vocation.
Both of these events provide excellent opportunities to take the next step in your discernment and truly experience the place to where God may be leading you. To register for either event, you can call Fr. Schmitmeyer at 513-421-3131 ext 2890 or use the registration forms linked above.
To see a list of all the discernment/vocation-related events happening over the next several months, please visit the Upcoming Events page.
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