Saturday, November 18, 2006

Victory for vocations

Result from last night's basketball game: St. A's 31, DC Hood 30. "Wait", you're saying, "you guys lost. Why are you calling it a 'victory for vocations'?" Overall, it was a victory for both St. Andrew's and DC Hood. What a great night! Thanks be to God, we had another great turnout here; the organizers were saying they were even more people there last night than last year (which was a good crowd). And, most everyone, especially the young ones, was extremely spirited and vocal.

It was the closest game the 'Hood has had- the first one that came down to the wire. DC Hood's #3 did his best to give the game to St. A's (after all, it IS his parish!), and St. A's made one free throw with one second on the clock to win the game. Both teams played good defense, but struggled on the offensive end. With the series tied at one game a piece, preparation for next year have already begun (I will try to talk single NBA players into a vocation to the priesthood over the next 12 months!).

But, one of the best parts of these games are the halftime talks by the priests and religious sisters. Last night, we were very blessed to have Sr. Regina and Sr. Mary Katherine from the Daughters of Charity. They spoke to everyone, but mainly the kids, about being a sister. They talked about their great love for Jesus in the poor, and how it came about that God called them to their lives of service. They encouraged the kids (and their parents) to be open to whatever vocation God has for them. It was really great to see some of the St. A's girls right there with them during the presentations.

Then, I spoke about priesthood. I told the story about when I was a seminarian stationed in a parish one summer, and took a trip to Tennessee to serve the poor with the parish youth group. One of our teens (a girl who was about 15 or 16) was angry at God and didn't want anything to do with faith, prayer, etc. As the week went on, she told us that it was because of a problem at home that she was angry. We talked with her about how much Jesus loves her, and that he would never do anything to hurt her.

By the end of the week, she was praying with us, and going to Mass. When we got home, she was the first one in line for Confessions, and was so happy when she came out. She wrote a letter to the parish, saying how that week changed her life! I told the crowd last night that priests and religious give their lives to helping people, like that girl. They teach people about Jesus, about staying close to Christ in the Eucharist, Confession, and prayer, how to live the Gospel, and how to get to Heaven.

I finished by saying that if God is calling them to be a priest or sister, it is a call to happiness. The DC 'Hood priests and Daughters of Charity are happy people! It is an AWESOME life!!

The scoreboard didn't indicate it, but it was truly a victory for vocations (I have to keep telling myself that as I think about the game itself). Many thanks to the efforts of all of the organizers, and for everyone who came out to support vocations.

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