By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
On a Friday evening, when many were preparing to cheer on local high school football teams, two dozen young men gathered for reflection and conversation at the Cathedral of the Assumption.
The Oct. 28 event was the first of two “St. Andrew dinners,” sponsored by the Vocation Office of the Archdiocese of Louisville. The evening, which included dinner, vespers and some activities, is designed to initiate discussion among those discerning a vocation to the priesthood, said Benedictine Sister Sarah Yungwirth, associate director for vocations.
The next dinner will be held Dec. 4 at St. Thomas Church in Bardstown, Ky., from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and a half dozen other priests greeted the teens and college students as they arrived on the sidewalk of South Fifth Street near the entrance to the Cathedral Undercroft.
The young men were invited by pastors in their parishes or other adult leaders who thought they may have a vocation to the priesthood, Sister Yungwirth said.
During the program, Father Michael Wimsatt, director of the Vocation Office, told the young men — who ranged in age from high school freshmen to those in their mid-20s — that the Lord was speaking to them personally and inviting them to think
about their vocation.
“We struggle with doubts that we might have. We struggle with pride, whatever it may be. Gratitude has a great way of pointing out of whatever we struggle with to draw us closer with God.
“For those of you here thinking about vocation, and you may not know exactly at this point what God intends for you, … there is still plenty to be grateful for because you know at the very least that God has some purpose for you in your life,” said Father Wimsatt, who is also the administrator of the Cathedral.
The evening began with an activity to help the young men get to know one another, posing such questions as, “What was the last movie you saw in the theater?” and “What is the location of your dream vacation?”
Following the ice-breaker, the young men divided into four groups to take part in a scavenger hunt of sorts throughout the Cathedral. Clues led them to four stations in the church: the Chapel of Bishops, the Blessed Mother statue, the Holy Door for the Year of Mercy and the sacristy.
At each station, a priest or the archbishop was stationed to answer question prompts, such as: “What prayer or devotion has shaped your priesthood?” and “What is your episcopal motto and how did you choose it?”
The priests in turn asked, “How do you guys pray?” and “What is your favorite Scripture?”
Archbishop Kurtz provided a reflection at the conclusion of the Liturgy of the Hours, which followed the scavenger hunt, and said that becoming a priest “was not my idea but that it was God who chose.”
“With God there is no coincidence. I’m not sure what brought you here tonight but there is no coincidence,” he said to the young men.
Priesthood is not about you, the archbishop told them, “it’s about Christ wanting you to become a priest.”
If that is the case, he said, “how lucky for you and how lucky for the people you will serve.”
Following vespers, dinner was provided in the undercroft, and there was an opportunity for the young men to ask questions.
To learn more about the next St. Andrew dinner, visit www.louisvillevocations.com.