Overnight retreat will focus on priesthood - Catholic Courier

Overnight retreat will focus on priesthood

A few years back, Edison Tayag got an up-close look at priestly life by taking part in “24 Hours with the Lord.” Now he’s about to become Father Tayag, and a fresh contingent of “24 Hours” participants will witness his June 28 ordination.

Might at least one person from that group be on his own path to becoming a diocesan priest?

While that answer may not yet be known, the “24 Hours” mini-retreat provides valuable enlightenment for those wanting to know more about the priesthood, said Carol Dady, diocesan coordinator of priesthood vocations awareness.

The event, in its ninth year, is open to single Catholic men, ages 17-40. It will begin Friday evening, June 27, with dinner, prayer, conversation and reflection with Bishop Matthew H. Clark and members of the diocesan vocations-awareness team. The overnight gathering will conclude with all involved traveling to Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral the next morning for Deacon Tayag’s ordination.

“The group is given an opportunity to meet and talk with Bishop Clark on a very personal level, and Bishop Clark looks forward to his time with them. They also meet other young Catholic men who share a love for God and their faith. New friendships are always formed,” Dady said.

Dady emphasized that “24 Hours with the Lord” is meant more to be informational than a sales pitch for the priesthood.

“The vocation to priesthood is a wonderful gift to our church and we realize that gift, that call, can only come from God,” she said. “We also feel, however, that we owe it to our young Catholic men — and they owe it to themselves — to better understand priesthood, as they are at a point in their lives when they are trying to discern how it is that God is calling them to make a difference in the world.”

Dady added that “while we do explain that the purpose of the retreat is not to ‘recruit for priests,’ several men through the years have gone on to apply for Becket Hall (the diocesan residential program for priesthood discernment).” She noted that “24 Hours with the Lord” was highly effective for Deacon Tayag in that it “helped him to take the next step in his discernment of priesthood.”

Based on the feedback she’s received, Dady said this special reflection time is valued by all who take part.

“Each year we ask those who attend to evaluate the experience for us. The comments are always very positive. Most report how much they enjoyed and benefitted from taking this small amount of time out of their busy schedules,” she said.

Participants in “24 Hours with the Lord” have traditionally been extended personal invitations. However, Dady said potential openings still exist for “24 Hours with the Lord” and that any interested person, or somebody who might know of a possible participant, should contact her at 585-461-2890 or e-mail cdady@dor.org.

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