Twenty-five young men, ages 13-18, participated in a Diocese of Orlando vocations retreat Aug. 4-6 at San Pedro Spiritual Development Center, Winter Park to explore what God has planned for their future. Some feel a nudge to the priesthood but wonder if that is their true calling and if it would make them happy.
“Is it wrong to doubt?” one 15-year-old asked during the annual Quo Vadis event.
“Quo Vadis comes from the Latin words, ‘Where are you going?’” said Father Jorge Torres, director of the Diocese of Orlando Office of Vocations. “We are asking the young men to begin to discern where their call might be in life.”
While the retreat offered the teens time for prayer, fellowship, talks, and small group sessions, most said time spent together worshipping the Lord was most meaningful.
In fact, one of the most poignant moments of the retreat happened during Eucharistic Adoration at the Chapel when several of the young men were moved to tears during prayer and worship.
“I have never experienced anything like this,” said Deacon Josh Swallows, a transitional deacon. “It was beautiful to see how much God means to these young men.”
During a small group session, participants found answers to their questions of doubt from Blake Britton, second year theology seminarian at St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary, who said that questioning God’s call was not unusual.
Britton compared discerning a priestly vocation to climbing a mountain. When you are at the base of the mountain, you see how beautiful it is as the top and you begin to climb. You may get exhausted and question why you are making the effort – these are spiritual trials – but once at the top, you realize there is an abyss, and you have to jump.
“There are so many young men nowadays standing right at that edge and they are afraid to jump, or they want to use a bungee cord or have a parachute,” Britton said. “I tell them to just fall. Fall into the love of Jesus Christ and watch how beautiful it is for the rest of our life. You will never get tired of it. I haven’t.”
“In the end,” said Father Jorge Torres, “I hope the young men know that God really wants their happiness. Wherever he is calling them, he will truly help them to be the happy person they wish to be.”