June 27, 2014

‘It’s a great life’: Youths receive positive image of priesthood during seminary’s Bishop Bruté Days

Newly ordained Father David Marcotte speaks on June 18 at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis with Gabe Ochoa, left, Nathan Gramman, Mateo Gonzalez and Aaron Robinson, all members of SS. Francis and Clare of Assisi Parish in Greenwood. Father Marcotte, who will soon begin ministry as associate pastor of SS. Francis and Clare, spoke with the teenage boys during Bishop Bruté Days, the college seminary’s annual camping and retreat event for young men open to the idea that God might call them to the priesthood. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Newly ordained Father David Marcotte speaks on June 18 at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis with Gabe Ochoa, left, Nathan Gramman, Mateo Gonzalez and Aaron Robinson, all members of SS. Francis and Clare of Assisi Parish in Greenwood. Father Marcotte, who will soon begin ministry as associate pastor of SS. Francis and Clare, spoke with the teenage boys during Bishop Bruté Days, the college seminary’s annual camping and retreat event for young men open to the idea that God might call them to the priesthood. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Nearly 50 years ago, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin was in the position of the nearly 40 teenage boys with whom he spoke on June 18 at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis.

The boys were participants in the eighth annual Bishop Bruté Days, a camping and retreat event sponsored by the seminary for teenage boys open to the possibility that God might call them to the priesthood. (Related: See a photo gallery from this event)

When he was a teenager in the mid-1960s, Archbishop Tobin was an altar server and involved in sports in his home parish in Detroit.

“I was watching the priests in the parish where I grew up,” he told the youths during a visit he made to Bishop Bruté Days. “And I liked what I saw and what they were doing. I felt really close to God, especially when I served at Mass. So, I was wondering what I should do.”

The next step that Archbishop Tobin took was to enroll in a high school seminary in Wisconsin operated by the Redemptorist order that he eventually entered.

Although high school seminaries are not an option for today’s teenage boys, Archbishop Tobin encouraged the participants at Bishop Bruté Days, who attended from 22 parishes in nine of the 11 archdiocesan deaneries, to keep their hearts and minds open to the priesthood.

“If God is calling you to be a priest, it’s the best life you can have, bar none,” he said.

While the teenagers got to meet and spend time with many seminarians and priests over the four days of the event, the message of the many homilies and presentations that they heard was not so much focused on the priesthood itself as simply growing in virtue and the life of faith.

Fletcher Kitchell, a seminarian for the Evansville, Ind., Diocese and a sophomore at Bishop Bruté, assisted at the event and said that the main point of it was to “inspire holiness and get guys to make that their focus.”

“I think vocations will come as a result of that,” Kitchell said.

Thomas Goble, 14, of St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus, seemed to grasp the kind of holiness that is encouraged at Bishop Bruté Days.

He appreciated being around so many other Catholic boys, because he knows that when he starts as a freshman at Columbus North High School in Columbus at the end of the summer, he will be a bit more alone in his faith.

However, what was instilled in him at Bishop Bruté Days will stay with him during high school.

“They’ve been talking a lot here about how we need to find where we can encounter Jesus and how other people may need that encounter,” Thomas said. “That’s what I will bring to Columbus North. I will be the person who gives you a smile if you’re having a bad day. I will be the person who will say ‘Hi’ to you, no matter what the situation is. I will be the one there for you.”

In the long run, Bishop Bruté Days might help some of the participants to ask God in prayer if they should become a seminarian.

That’s what happened with Nick McKinley, a sophomore at the college seminary, who attended five of the camping and retreat events before becoming a seminarian for the archdiocese.

“The great support of priests [at Bishop Bruté Days] was very encouraging and welcoming,” said McKinley, a member of St. Christopher Parish in Indianapolis. “It really said to me that this might be good for me. I felt I was on the right path.”

One of the priests at Bishop Bruté Days on June 18 was Father David Marcotte, who was ordained just 11 days earlier. A graduate of the college seminary who previously assisted with Bishop Bruté Days, Father Marcotte was glad to come back and provide a positive example of the priesthood to the teenage boys.

“It’s great to come back as a priest and to tell them that I love what I’m doing and happy with the decision that I made,” said Father Marcotte. “It’s a great life if that’s what God is calling you to. There are so many of us that enjoy it.”

Since Bishop Bruté Days now takes place at the seminary, the participants can also see what the daily life of the seminarians is like and how they enjoy living with each other.

“It’s almost hard to remember that they are seminarians because they’re so much like the rest of us,” said Thomas Goble.

The teenagers saw how the seminarians were like them when the possible future priests joined them in games of dodge ball, basketball and attended an Indianapolis Indians baseball game with them.

“It helps me realize that being a seminarian is not all hard and tough,” said Aaron Robinson, 14, a member of SS. Francis and Clare of Assisi Parish in Greenwood. “It definitely makes it seem more attainable.”

In today’s secular society, spending time with seminarians, priests and other Catholic boys interested in the faith is especially helpful, said Father Robert Robeson, rector of Bishop Bruté College Seminary.

“Our culture is not one that necessarily supports someone making the kind of commitment to celibate chastity and obedience and their faith that the seminary and the priesthood requires,” said Father Robeson. “So it helps them to see that there are other guys who are open to that possibility.”
 

(For more information about a vocation to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, log on to www.HearGodsCall.com. For more information about Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary, log on to www.archindy.org/bsb.)

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