By Father Christopher J. Bethge
“Where will you be in 10 years?” That is the question I asked those making the Bishop’s Vocation Retreat last month. Of course, there is no way of knowing where we will be in 10 years; in fact, there is no way of knowing where we will be in 10 days. However, this retreat was all about being open to wherever our path could lead.
The reason that this question came to mind was that it was 10 years ago that I graduated from St. John’s University and the College Seminary at Douglaston. It was 10 years ago that I was preparing to move into the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington. I could never have imagined all that God had in store for me during these past 10 years. I could not have imagined that 10 years later I, along with Bishop DiMarzio, would be leading 42 young people in a Discernment Retreat at that same Seminary in Huntington. Even though I had no idea where I would be in 10 years, God did!
On the weekend of April 16, 42 young men arrived at the Seminary to ask the question, “What is God calling me to do in life?” It was truly an honor to witness the sincerity of these young men as they honestly, courageously, and faithfully offered up their weekends to try and discover God’s plan. Throughout the weekend, I witnessed moments of prayer, moments of joy, and moments of honest conversation. Bishop DiMarzio offered us five talks on different aspects of the Priesthood. He reminded us that God calls according to His Will — that He has a plan and that each of us has a role in His plan of salvation. Bishop DiMarzio reminded these young men that, “God does not call the qualified — He qualifies the ones that He calls.”
I believe that so much good was done in those three days. A seed was planted that weekend and with your prayer, the prayers of the good people of our diocese, that seed will continue to grow into lives of faith, of care, and of service.
Together we asked the question, “Where will we be in 10 years?” We do not know the answer, but God does.
Let us continue to listen and if today we hear the voice of the Lord, let us not be afraid to respond with generosity.
Father Bethge is the vocation director for the Diocese of Brooklyn.