On December 4, 5 & 6 eleven young men participated in a vocation discernment weekend at the abbey. The weekend events provided the men an opportunity to share in Norbertine COMMUNIO; that is, a life lived in common and grounded in shared daily Eucharist, prayer and table fraternity. In addition to the celebration of daily Eucharist, prayer and table, several additional experiences completed the weekend experience.
The Calling (www.thecallingdocumentary.com), a 2009 independent film by David Ranghelli that authentically portrays the call to religious life, was viewed by participants and several Norbertines on Friday evening.
The highlight of the weekend was the celebration of First Vespers on Saturday evening with Abbot Gary Neville, during which time the novices were installed as Lectors. The evening concluded with Gaudeamus, dinner, an abbey church organ and brass Christmas concert and a social gathering with pizza that lasted late into the evening.
The final day of the vocation discernment weekend—Sunday—included the communal celebration of Morning Prayer and Eucharist, followed by lunch, goodbyes and blessings for the continued vocational discernment journey.
In the words of one participant: "The hospitality of the entire weekend was very nice... ... I enjoyed interacting with a wide range of Norbertines in a variety of stages of religious life and many different ministries... ... The novices were particularly helpful... ... Prayer times were excellent... ... The recreation times gave us an opportunity to talk with different community members. Many times, lay people forget that priests are human, too. I believe that this is a major vocations barrier; it was for me. For a long time, I convinced myself that I wasn’t ‘Holy enough’ to be a priest. It’s great to see that as a priest, there is still room for fun and games and informal gathering."
AMEN! And thanks to Almighty God for a spirit-filled vocation discernment weekend!