March 16, 2017

Vocations Day Shows Students Diverse Forms of Religious Life

Sister Andreja Mezek, a member of the Opera di Maria (Work of Mary) congregation from Bethesda, Md., speaks with first-grade students.

“As young people, I am sure you always get the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ – I know I did when I was your age. But, I believe, the better question is, ‘What do you think God wants you to do with the life He has given you?’…. ‘How can I bring glory to God?’ is a better way to think of it.”

Bishop Ronald Gainer offered this thought-provoking message to the students at St. Leo the Great School in Rohrerstown during the school’s biennial Vocations Day, which introduces students to the many forms of religious life.

Sarah Baak and Steven Pisano prepare to serve Holy Mass.

Throughout the morning on Feb. 23, more than a dozen men and women in religious life – including priests, deacons and sisters – spoke to students about their call to a religious vocation and how they serve the Church.

Students were familiar with some of them, including Father Peter Hahn, pastor of St. Leo’s, Father Bernardo Pistone, who lives in residence there, and Deacon Gene Vannucci, who serves the parish. But others – including religious sisters from as far as Philadelphia and Maryland – brought new habits and congregations to the students’ awareness.

Father John Kuchinski, a native son of St. Leo the Great Parish, shares his vocation story.

“The purpose of this special day is to foster vocations and encourage students to think about religious life, because they are the future of our Church,” principal Christine McLean told The Catholic Witness. “We also want to introduce them to different forms of religious life that they might not have known about or considered before.”

Vocations Day culminated with Holy Mass with Bishop Gainer as the principal celebrant, and the day’s priest-speakers as concelebrants.

“You are a unique, special person, each one of you, and each one of you is a precious gift. It’s important to think about how God wants to use you in life,” the bishop told the students in his homily.

Bishop Ronald Gainer receives hugs from students as he greets them after Mass.

“Feast days of saints are beautiful examples of faithful people saying yes to God…. Often times instead of ‘Thy will be done,’ we say, ‘My will be done.’… God’s dream for us is to be happy with him in eternity in Heaven. That’s His will,” he continued.

“The Mass is the most perfect prayer we have, and Jesus wants to help us do God’s will through His presence,” the bishop said.

Click here for more information about the Office for Vocations.

(Learn more about St. Leo the Great School at or call 717-394-1742.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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