June 2, 2017

Participants in mini-marathon, 5K give witness to vocations

Members of the archdiocesan-sponsored Race for Vocations team pose on May 6 in Military Park in Indianapolis after participating in either the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon or the Finish Line 500 Festival 5K, both in Indianapolis. (Submitted photo)

Members of the archdiocesan-sponsored Race for Vocations team pose on May 6 in Military Park in Indianapolis after participating in either the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon or the Finish Line 500 Festival 5K, both in Indianapolis. (Submitted photo)

By Sean Gallagher

Benedictine Brother Peduru Fonseka knows what it means to be a minority.

He grew up in Sri Lanka, an island nation off the southeastern coast of India, where Christians make up only 7 percent of the national population.

So it didn’t bother him to be part of the Race for Vocations team, made up of only 300 of the more than 22,000 people who participated in either the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon or the Finish Line 500 Festival 5K, both of which occurred on May 6 in Indianapolis.

The team, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, was unified in wearing blue shirts that promoted vocations and in spirit through praying for vocations during the events and in their training leading up to them.

“Isn’t that the reality for our Catholic faith?” wondered Brother Peduru, a member of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad. “We always represent the minority.”

In addition to religious like Brother Peduru, there were also many seminarians, priests and lay Catholics who were part of the team.

“People in religious life, married life or consecrated single life, whichever vocation it may be, are all walking in this journey toward holiness together as a team,” he said. “We are all running towards one finish line.”

Lynne and Kelsey Kluesner, both members of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Martinsville, were a mother/daughter pair on the team. Lynne walked the 5K, while Kelsey ran the Mini.

“I’ve always been a runner, and in the years that I’ve been competing, we’ve never taken an advantage of an opportunity to do something together,” said Kelsey. “The Mini was a great start to do something together, but being on the Race for Vocations team really tied that together because we got to incorporate our faith.”

“When Kelsey and I put on our vocations shirts and we saw the other blue vocations shirts, I hoped and prayed that those in the discernment process would know that we are praying for them as well and that they have a lot of support,” said Lynne, who is the secretary of St. Martin Parish. “We all have a calling, and to be part of a team of over 300 people supporting vocations was truly an amazing experience.”

The night before the Mini and 5K, many team members gathered at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis for a Mass for vocations. A pasta supper was held afterward under a tent in the church parking lot.

Father Michael Keucher, associate pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish and a team organizer, was the homilist at the Mass. He said that the team members, and all Catholics, need to set a good pace to compete well in the journey of faith. He took each of the letters of “pace” to give advice on how to do this.

“P” stood for prayer for Father Keucher.

“Make it a prayerful event,” he said. “Pray along the way. We’re not just doing this race for me, for my fitness or my health. We’re carrying other people with us in our hearts and minds as we go.”

“A” meant aspire.

“We should aspire to do well,” Father Keucher said. “God’s dreams for us are much greater than our own dreams. He wants more for us than we could ever want for ourselves.”

“C” stood for communion.

“How could we ever keep going if we don’t have people at our sides, and behind us, pushing us, and ahead of us, leading us,” Father Keucher asked. “We need that communion.”

Finally, “E” meant Eucharist.

“Our real fuel as Christians is the body and blood of Jesus,” Father Keucher said. “The Eucharist is the fuel that keeps us going. It gets us to the finish line, both tomorrow and throughout our whole lives.” †

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!