May 24, 2024

Serra Club Vocations Essay

Student’s love of the Eucharist is nurtured in family life

(Editor’s note: The Indianapolis Serra Club’s annual John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest ordinarily awards prizes each spring to winning essayists in grades 7-12 in the archdiocese. This week, have the winning entry in the tenth grade.)

By Faustina Darnowski (Special to The Criterion)

Faustina DarnowskiAs the source and summit of the Christian life, the Eucharist is the focal point of the Catholic faith. Every one of the seven sacraments is an outward sign of an inward grace, created by Christ, to the feed the soul, by increasing or restoring the life of grace in the soul.

In the “Litany of the Most Precious Blood,” the invocation, “Blood of Christ, springing forth virgins, have mercy on us!” appears. This phrase addresses the fact that vocations, (especially religious vocations) come from his heart.

The Eucharist is the lifeblood of the Church, as it is the Church’s very founder, Jesus Christ, who guards the Church from evil and error and leads it on the often-arduous path to heaven.

Every member of the Catholic Church has a vocation. A vocation is the way of life that God specifically intends for people to serve him best and through which they can receive the maximum amount of grace. God means for each person to enjoy a beautiful vocation that will give them great joy.

A young person’s family, school and parish life have great impact on the growth of their soul and the vocation they choose to follow by the ways that they expose a young person to the Eucharist, and the love and respect they instill in them for the Blessed Sacrament.

The first and greatest influence on young people’s vocation is their family. Seeing their parents, the love they have for each other and the way they interact on a day-to-day basis has a great effect on the vocation they decide to follow.

Their siblings also, who often require a generous helping of patience, help to form them for their future calling. The charity a person shows to the difficult people they live with will enable them to practice greater patience and charity later in life.

A young person’s parish can affect in a profound way their vocation, by offering the sacraments, especially the holy Eucharist and orthodox homilies that invite the young person to seek their mission of holiness.

Their school assists, too, by teaching them about the different vocations, not only careers, and showing young people how they relate.

I personally have benefited from my family’s strong efforts to love Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. My mother and father have always made an extraordinary effort to bring me and my 14 siblings to daily Mass, as far as they are able. Because of this, and the devotion with which they pray the Mass, every one of us, from my 19-year-old oldest brother, who is pursuing a vocation to the priesthood, to my 3-year-old sister who has Down syndrome, has a deep love of the Eucharist.

The graces I receive at Mass in receiving my Creator and my God have helped me to feel God’s presence in my life. When I am having a difficult day, the thought that I will be able to be so close to God, by receiving holy Communion, gives me courage.

While many other things can influence one’s biggest choices in life, the family, as the primary building block of society, has the greatest effect on a young person’s life.

As members of the Catholic Church, every Catholic child’s role models and primary teachers in life have great ability to help them to follow their vocation by planting in their soul a deep love of Jesus in the Eucharist. He loves them greatly and will lead them on wondrous paths. After all, did he not say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Mt 19:14)?

(Faustina and her parents, Doug and Adele Darnowski, are members of St. Mary Parish in Lanesville. She is a homeschooled 10th-grade student and is the 10th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2024 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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