June 30, 2006

Is God calling? Retreat helps teens grow in faith, be open to priesthood

By Sean Gallagher

MORGAN COUNTY—Members of the Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary community recently took another step in building up a culture of vocations in the archdiocese.

From June 14-17, they served as leaders of the first-ever Bishop Bruté Days, held at the Bradford Woods Outdoor Center in Morgan County.

Father Robert Robeson, rector of the seminary, along with several of the resident seminarians and other adult volunteers, helped 16 teenage boys from seven archdiocesan deaneries grow in their faith and consider a possible call to the priesthood.

The retreat involved outdoor activities, spiritual conferences, group discussion, daily Mass and eucharistic adoration, an opportunity for confession and other forms of prayer.

Father Robeson said he hoped the participants would gain through the retreat “a deeper relationship with Christ and a deeper commitment to whatever their call is.”

During the retreat, Alex Wilson, a homeschooled member of St. Louis Parish in Batesville who will be a high school freshman in the fall, spoke about the positive impact he hoped the experience would have on him.

“I hope that it will … allow me to be a better son,” Alex said, “a better older brother and a better Catholic and allow me to discern my vocation.”

Colin Robertson, a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Shelby County who will be an eighth-grader in the fall at Waldron Jr./Sr. High School, didn’t know any of the other participants before coming, but soon found that he was making friends.

“I’m learning a lot here, and I’m learning more prayers,” Colin said. “But mainly I think I’m getting more friends and helping them. I think that’s the best thing.”

Even though he was just getting to know the other young men on the retreat, Colin said that its atmosphere helped him open up.

“A lot of times in conversations I just listen to the other people, let them talk it out,” he said. “But in these conversations, I actually get involved with it.”

The retreatants were divided into different teams that competed in athletic activities and trivia contests.

“We give each other moral support, even when we lose or we win,” Colin said. “We just help each other.”

Father Robeson hopes to build on the camaraderie that the retreatants shared by having regular gatherings of young men at Bishop Bruté College Seminary at Marian College in Indianapolis.

But the retreat didn’t just benefit the young men who participated. It was also uplifting for the seminarians who helped lead it.

“It’s been a great experience for me,” said seminarian Kristen Casey. “It’s kind of reassured me that there are a lot of young guys that are actually considering or at least open to the vocation of the priesthood.”

A member of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis, Casey recently completed his first year as a resident seminarian at the Bishop Bruté College Seminary.

He said that helping out with the retreat helped him look forward to the kinds of ministry he might do if he is ultimately ordained to the priesthood.

“Especially in a parish as a young priest, I would love to work with the youth and in youth ministry activities,” Casey said. “And being here, ministering to these kids, talking to them and getting to know them, I think is going to help me learn to do that.”

During the middle of the first Bishop Bruté Days, Casey was already hoping that it would happen again next year.

“This is a great opportunity, and I just pray that we continue to do this in coming years,” he said. †

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