"The harvest is good but laborers are scarce. Beg the harvest master to send out laborers to gather the harvest." This insight and command from the mouth of Matthew's Jesus bookended this years Come & See weekend at St. Norbert Abbey for four young men: Matthew Ferch and Samuel Webb (St. Norbert College Sophomore and Junior, respectively), Moises Mendoza (Green Bay St. Willebrord Parish & Discipulos de Cristo Diocesan Faith Formation graduate), and John Tilleman (Michigan Tech graduate and current Georgia Pacific employee).
The weekend provided an opportunity for these young men to share in Norbertine communio, including Morning and Evening Prayer, daily Eucharist, common table, fraternity, and Compline. Highlights of the weekend included presentations, interactions, and conversations with Norbertines, both formally and informally. Several also enjoyed the annual Brass, Organ & Choral Christmas Spectacular (concert) in the abbey church on Saturday, December 7 as well.
Special weekend presentations were provided by a wide range of community members. On Friday evening, December 6, Frs. Michael Frisch and Tim Schillcox, along with Frater Patrick LaPacz, spoke about "Norbertine Charism: Communal Prayer, Personal Prayer, and Vocation Story). Later that same evening, community members joined the Fraters and men-in-discernment for pizza, a cold drink, and conversation.
Saturday, December 7 was a full day, with Fr. James Herring, superior and formator Holy Spirit House of Studies, Chicago, spoke about the formation process, with Fraters Jake Sircy and Brad Vanden Branden sharing their vocation journey. Fraters Matthew Dougherty and Mike Brennan presented on The Rule of St. Augustine and The Vowed Life, respectively. Later in the day, Fr. James Neilson engaged the Fraters and men-in-discernment in a presentation on and discussion of the "Catholic Imagination and the Art of Vocation.
Additionally, the weekend provided significant periods of quiet time for prayerful discernment and reflection, as well as opportunities to relax and enjoy conversation with any number of Norbertines who availed themselves to the men for the weekend.
The Come & See weekend, having begun with the celebration of Eucharist also concluded with Sunday Eucharist on December 8 to celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent. Lunch and departure followed.
Indeed, "the harvest is good but laborers are scarce. Beg the harvest master to send out laborers to gather the harvest...As you go, make this announcement: ‘The reign of God is at hand!’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the leprous, expel demons. The gift you have received, give as a gift" (Mt. 9:37b-10:5b-8).
As brothers in Augustine, Norbert, and the Risen Christ, may we continue to be united in prayer and action in the vocation ministry we, as the community of St. Norbert Abbey, share.
Fr. John M. Tourangeau, O. Praem.