‘The Lord has given us many opportunities to connect with him’
Tom Silliker of Prince of Peace Parish in Ormond Beach came looking for answers. Recently graduated from the University of Central Florida, where he served as president of the college’s Catholic Campus Ministry, he wanted to know where God was leading him.
Picture on left: Students attend FOCUS 11 event.
Click here to view a video of the FOCUS 11 event.
“I am searching for some answers,” Silliker said. “Where is God leading me? Where does he want me? Where can I use my gifts? I want to learn how to use my gifts in the best way, and I figured what better way to learn than from people who are living out their gifts.”
Silliker was among the more than 1,900 Catholic school students, public school students and young adults who attended Focus 11, held March 14-18 at Holy Family Parish. Sponsored by the Diocese of Orlando Office of Vocations, Focus 11 offers students and young adults the opportunity to learn about religious life and what God is calling them to do. Individual age groups participate on different days.
“Young people are making important decisions about their lives,” said Father Jorge Torres, director of the Diocese of Orlando Office of Vocations. “Our goal is to encourage students to listen to the Lord and be open to the possibility of becoming a priest or sister. We want to foster a culture of vocations in the diocese and show that religious men and women are real people, too.”
Pictured Right: Bishop Noonan greats a student.
During this event attendees participated in the celebration of Mass with Bishop John Noonan and viewed exhibits from various religious communities and orders, while interacting with diocesan and religious order priests, sisters, brothers and seminarians. The students also participated in games that helped them learn about vocations, while the young adults spent time with Jesus during Eucharistic Adoration.
The event also featured keynote speakers, Religious Teachers Filippini Sister Shirlee Tremont and Redemptorist Brother Darryl Cevasco, who spoke about discerning God’s call.
“One of the questions I most often get asked is ‘How do you know that God is calling you?’ Brother Cevasco said to the high school students. “He is not going coming down and hitting you over the head and saying, ‘This is what I want you to do.’
“It is through many different signs, many different ways his voice is heard. It can be through a song. It can be through a prayer. It can be through talking to a sister, brother, priest, friend, or parent. It can be anything. But you will know.”
“The Lord has given us many opportunities to connect with him,” Sister Tremont said to the young adult women. “We have Scripture. We have the holy Mass with Eucharist. We have Eucharistic Adoration, conferences, workshops, days like this. We have good and holy people in our lives. We have morning sunrise, the cry of a newborn baby, or in my house, bread baking on a Saturday morning.
“Truly the goodness of Jesus surrounds in so many ways,” she continued. “Consider the very One we desire is the One who placed that desire in our hearts. He is waiting for us to respond. He has made Himself available to us in many ways, and if we believe that and we live like that, then it is not a matter of us having to go and find Jesus and bring Him with us, rather it is a matter of our awareness that Jesus is with and within us. Living a life of faith is remembering that the ever-present Jesus is ever present.”