Good Shepherd Sunday at St. Sebastian’s Church, Woodside, was also observed as Vocations Sunday.
“During the year of vocations an awareness of choosing priesthood and religious life has to be made available through concrete programs,” said Father Kevin Abels, pastor and former diocesan vocations director. “This is where I came up with the idea of vocation fair to invite religious priests, brothers and nuns to speak to our children and youngsters and parents as well.”
Father Abels recalls his own experiences as the vocation director and stresses that nurturing of vocations is the duty of every Christian. He has never regretted being a priest and shared that sentiment with the young adults who participated.
The men and women of different religious congregations such as Salesians of Don Bosco, Carmelite Friars, Passionists, Preachers of Jesus and Mary, Filippini Sisters, Little Sisters of the Poor, Visitation Sisters and the Divine Word Missionaries interacted with the young adults and parishioners, speaking about their charism and contributions to the Church as well as society.
Their presence was felt all through the day’s Masses. In his homily, “Seminary or convent is not a place of sadness,” said Father Rogie Castellano of the Passionists.
Father Henry Torres, parochial vicar, who was ordained last year, said, “I believe a vocation fair is a brilliant idea because it allows people, especially the youth, to see the different orders, charisms and spirituality the Universal Church has to offer. It also challenges people to honestly ask themselves ‘What is God’s calling for me?”
“St. Sebastian’s is a wonderful parish with its hospitality so unique and the people are so welcoming and I continue to pray for vocations and expecting a few members of this parish to join us,” said Sister Luciana D’Cruze, a novice with the Religious Teachers Filippini.
Father Rodnev Lapommeray along with Rebecca Newman and the parish vocation committee were instrumental in organizing the fair.