Fr. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C., the executive assistant to the President at the University of Portland as well as our vocations point man on that campus, filed this report for us about a recent vocations event at UP. The Spirit is really moving in our CSC community out there.
Tuesday, February 22, was the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, a celebration of the unity of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, this also meant a number of page flips for evening prayer. The psalms are found in one section of the book, the "propers" (proper prayers for the day) in another, and the Magnificat and the opening hymn in two other parts of the book. Many of the men who joined us were not as familiar with praying the Office, so we tried to intersperse Holy Cross religious with our guests. It was a great sight to watch as men who had been praying the office for literally 50-60 years helped out those who were just beginning to learn this form of prayer.
While I knew that our students enjoyed spending an evening with the community, I came to realize how important this time was for those of us in Holy Cross. Getting to pray and eat with young men who are discerning God's will, and seeing how God was moving in their lives, was a great witness to those of us who did the same thing 10, 20, even 60 years before. It helped us see that there is a next generation of men who will be coming into religious life to take up the mantle carried by so many before them. The faith and zeal of these young men reminded those of us in Holy Cross of the zeal and the faith of generations of Holy Cross religious.
I think my favorite memory from last week is the image of one of the older members of Holy Cross walking over to the ice cream case with one of our students. Something about them walking side-by-side, sharing stories and laughing as they went to get a bowl of ice cream helped me to realize what discerning a vocation is about: learning about the life; trying it on; and, ultimately, listening to God in the process.