April 29, 2022

Knights’ support of vocations highlighted at appreciation dinner

Members of Saint Thomas More Knights of Columbus Council 7431 at St. Thomas More Parish in Mooresville, seminarians at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis and several priests pose for a group photo after the March 28 Seminarian Appreciation Dinner and Priestly Vocations Event. (Submitted photo by Julie Lesh)

Members of Saint Thomas More Knights of Columbus Council 7431 at St. Thomas More Parish in Mooresville, seminarians at Bishop Simon Bruté  College Seminary in Indianapolis and several priests pose for a group photo after the March 28 Seminarian Appreciation Dinner and Priestly Vocations Event. (Submitted photo by Julie Lesh)

By Mike Krokos

MOORESVILLE—Seminarian Robert McKay knows the power of prayer.

As a freshmen at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, he is aware of the petitions offered for him and his fellow seminarians.

“I definitely feel the prayers every day,” said Robert, a member of St. Ann Parish in Indianapolis.

“It makes me feel really confident in my vocation, and also a great sense of community and support, knowing I have all these people behind me.”

He was among the invited guests at a Seminarian Appreciation Dinner and Priestly Vocations Event hosted on March 28 by Saint Thomas More Knights of Columbus Council 7431 at St. Thomas More Parish in Mooresville.

Thus far, Robert feels good about his ongoing discernment.

“I had some priests in my life who showed me a lot of joy and fulfillment in the priesthood,” he said. “I realized as St. Paul says, the things in this world are temporary and passing away, but eternal life isn’t … and [as a priest] I could work for the salvation of souls.”

He added Bishop Bruté is “a great community of guys. The fraternity is awesome, the support staff is really helping me along with everything. I think God’s calling me to the priesthood.”

The dinner at St. Thomas More was three years in the making.

The Knights hosted their first seminarian appreciation dinner in 2019, but the COVID pandemic forced the cancellation of the event in 2020 and 2021.

Grand Knight Andrew Murrey said the council was happy to have the event back on its calendar.

“It feels amazing. This is our number one mission. This is the event when I became the grand knight I was like, ‘This is our number goal, to get this off the ground,’ to make sure it happens again this year.”

The appreciation dinner isn’t all the Knights do for those discerning a possible call to the priesthood. The council sends care packages to the seminarians and also supports them in various financial initiatives and through their prayers.

Murrey said he and his fellow Knights are impressed by the young men pursuing vocations to the priesthood.

“The number one mission of the Knights of Columbus is to support our Church,” he said, “and without priests and without seminarians, there is no Church.”

Marianne Hawkins, who served as director of faith formation at St. Thomas More Parish for 25 years before retiring, was among those in attendance at the dinner.

She appreciates how vocations are “more visible and present” for young people in today’s Church.

“The visibility helps a lot,” said Hawkins, who currently serves as interim director of faith formation at St. Ann Parish.

Father Michael Keucher, archdiocesan director of vocations, said the archdiocese currently has 25 men in priestly formation at Bishop Bruté and Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.

“We’re very blessed,” he said, adding that the archdiocese has the same number of seminarians as the archdioceses of Chicago, New York and Newark, N.J., which are much larger.

“It’s not really about numbers,” he continued, “because grace cannot be measured by numbers.”

Father Keucher said he takes part in what he calls “fishing expeditions” about once a month at parishes throughout central and southern Indiana in search of new seminarians.

“We’re looking for hard-working, solid, holy, prayerful, charitable guys … that’s the type of guy we’re looking for,” he noted. “A lot of people are fishing for the same kind of guy.”

He said he tells young men, “The Lord might be fishing for you, and if he is, let him catch you, because it is worth it.”

The key to more vocations, Father Keucher said, is to get young people “listening.”

“I’m convinced that God is calling, [but] we live in a very noisy culture where that call is not always heard,” he said. “There are many other distractions that lead people in other different directions, but God may very well be calling and fishing for them.”

The priesthood is a gift, Father Keucher noted. Without it, he said, “… there would be no Father in our parishes, there would be nobody there to baptize our babies, to confect the holy Eucharist and bring the God of the universe here. There would be nobody to usher somebody into heaven through the sacrament of the anointing [of the sick]. There would be nobody to do a marriage and all these things. The priesthood makes all the difference in the world.

“It doesn’t just change people’s lives, it saves them.”

(To learn more about a vocation to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, visit HearGodsCall.com.)


Prayer for Seminarians

Oh God, hear our prayer for the men you have chosen
to follow in your Son’s footsteps.

Teach them humility and fidelity
to unselfishly help others.

May their devotion to Our Blessed Mother, Queen of Vocations, increase,
Enabling them to do your will.

Strengthen their prayer life that they may grow spiritually
without worldly distractions.

Give them courage and perseverance in their studies.

May the Holy Spirit lighten their struggles with their vocations,
until they know the joy of being a priest.

We ask this through Christ your Son.
Amen.

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