By Colleen Rowan
Do you want a life of heroic sacrifice? Is God calling you to be a priest of Jesus Christ? The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Vocations Office is inviting men of all ages to consider these questions at an upcoming retreat weekend of prayer and discernment.
“If you have thought about priesthood before, if somebody has said ‘I think you would make a good priest’ …. if you think that God is calling you, then this retreat is for you,” said Father Dennis R. Schuelkens, Jr., director of Vocations and Seminarians for the diocese.
“This will be a weekend where men can take off from their day-to-day lives to listen and to ask God if he is calling them to be priests,” said Father Brian Crenwelge, assistant director of Vocations. “For men of all ages who are open to discussing the priesthood, or if they are discerning.”
The retreat is set for March 1-3 at the Eastern Panhandle’s Priest Field Pastoral Center in Kearneysville where participants will gather in prayer with other men who may be hearing God’s call. They will also have the chance to get a clear picture of the priesthood through talks by and discussions with priests of the diocese.
“Topics of discussion will include the priest’s identity, what the life of a priest entails, the demands of the priesthood, and seminary life,” Father Crenwelge said. “Basically, a crash course on the priesthood, so men and can hear about it, pray about it and, hopefully, open the doors to future conversations.”
Father Schuelkens said that he recalls many times in which men have said that they thought about priesthood, but just didn’t go any further. But looking deeper into that feeling is an important step, he said, in helping men see if they are being called to priesthood; and being on retreat with others who are having that same feeling is comforting.
“You get to meet other guys that are also thinking about the priesthood, and that can be an encouragement and a help in discerning whether God is calling you to this vocation or another one,” Father Schuelkens said.
Retreatants will also have one-on-one time with priests for discussion for “that opportunity to ask the questions that you might not ask in a group,” Father Schuelkens said.
The retreat will also include Mass and opportunities for prayer, confession, and Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
“Adoration is where I found my vocation at WVU,” Father Crenwelge said. He remembers, specifically, how it was in Adoration that he began praying about being a priest.
“People encounter our Lord uniquely in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament,” he said, “so we want to give them as much opportunity for that as well.”
A follow up to the discernment retreat will be held roughly a month later, giving participants a closer look at seminary life with a visit to Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.
The Vocations Office is hoping this will be the first of many discernment retreats to be offered in the diocese.
For more information or to register for the discernment retreat, contact Rick Teachout in the Vocations Office by calling (304) 233-0880, ext. 342, or by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is God calling you to Priesthood?
By Colleen Rowan