July 13, 2018

Bishop Bruté Days helps teenage boys ‘focus on how God is speaking to them’

Teenage boys from across central and southern Indiana listen on June 27 to Archbishop Charles C. Thompson deliver a homily during a Mass that was part of the 13th annual Bishop Bruté Days at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. Sponsored by the archdiocesan Vocations Office, Bishop Bruté Days is a vocations camp for teenage boys open to the priesthood. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Teenage boys from across central and southern Indiana listen on June 27 to Archbishop Charles C. Thompson deliver a homily during a Mass that was part of the 13th annual Bishop Bruté Days at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. Sponsored by the archdiocesan Vocations Office, Bishop Bruté Days is a vocations camp for teenage boys open to the priesthood. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Teenage Catholics in central and southern Indiana can often have hectic lives, their calendars filled with school events, sports practices and games, jobs and other interests.

So the only time they might get to interact with priests is during Mass on weekends, or at a Catholic school if they are enrolled at one.

Recently, 64 teenage boys from across the archdiocese and beyond spent time getting to know priests and seminarians at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis during the 13th annual Bishop Bruté Days.

(Related: See a photo gallery from the event)

The yearly event for boys open to the priesthood is sponsored by the archdiocesan Vocations Office.

Forty boys in high school were at the seminary on June 26-28, while 24 seventh-and eighth-grade boys had a one‑day session on June 28.

“There’s always such a positive atmosphere with people,” said Noah Schafer, who will be a junior this fall at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis. “Everybody’s generally having a good time with their faith. You get to make a bunch of new relationships with people. It’s a bunch of fun.”

Noah, a member of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Beech Grove, appreciated spending time with seminarian and priests at Bishop Bruté.

“You get to see what seminary life is like and see that priests are the same as normal people,” he said. “They’ll have pizza on Friday night. It’s good to have the experience to know that they’re just normal people.”

Bishop Bruté Days, according to archdiocesan vocations director Father Eric Augenstein, is designed to give its participants an experience of daily life as a college seminarian.

It includes daily Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, opportunities for the sacrament of penance, presentations on the faith, as well as shared meals, games, social activities and sports.

Charlie Wessel has experienced that life at Bishop Bruté for three years as an archdiocesan seminarian. A member of St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis, Wessel will be a senior at Bishop Bruté in the fall.

As a leader during Bishop Bruté Days, he was glad to share his experience of seminary life with others.

“It’s good to be able to give back what I’ve been receiving here, to pass it on to the guys who are a few years behind me,” Wessel said. “Three or four years ago, I had fears and doubts. These guys are in the same spot that I was in.”

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson celebrated Mass at Bishop Bruté Days on June 28 and had lunch with its participants.

He said that having so many young men open to discernment as teenagers is a “tremendous blessing for them, their families and the entire Church.”

“We have to help people discern that calling,” Archbishop Thompson said. “These young people have so much stuff going on in their lives, this gives them a couple of days to step back and quiet the noises and distractions in their lives and have a singular focus on how God is speaking to them.”

Although Bishop Bruté Days helps teenage boys from across central and southern Indiana grow in their faith and be open to the priesthood, it is only a three-day event.

Father Augenstein said he receives hope for the future of priestly vocations, not so much through the event itself, but in knowing that families and parishes are nurturing their faith during the rest of the year.

“There is a foundation being laid in parishes and families that allows for priestly discernment to happen,” he said. “The guys who are here are the fruit of that foundation being laid in our parishes and our families.”

At the end of Bishop Bruté Days, parents of the participants were invited to its closing ceremony and a cookout in the seminary’s courtyard.

Gena Antonopoulos, a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, was glad to have her son Alex, a first-time participant in Bishop Bruté Days, get to know other faith-filled boys from across central and southern Indiana.

She also spoke about how their parish’s school, where Alex will be an eighth-grader in the fall, and the parish work with her family in nurturing his faith.

“It’s good to know that there’s a community across the archdiocese that supports this goal,” Antonopoulos said. “It starts at home. And being involved in Catholic education has also helped. I feel like I have a partnership with the teachers and the priests through the school and the [parish] working together.”
 

(For more information about a vocation to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, visit www.HearGodsCall.com.)

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