"New Vocational Event Called a Success"
"I think ‘Who Will Fill These Shoes’ was the most successful vocation event we have ever had in the archdiocese." - Fr. Robert Barron
Reflections from Fr. Barron & Excerpts from Fr. Francis Bitterman's Review of the Event
In his recent write-up in Catholic New World,Fr. Francis Bitterman recapped the 'Who Will Fill These Shoes' event, where over 140 men, accompanied by nearly 80 priests and three auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese, visited Mundelein Seminary's campus to explore a vocation to the priesthood.
“There was tremendous energy and enthusiasm throughout the day and we hope to have a similar event next year..." - Fr. Barron
During his presentation on spiritual fatherhood, Barron stressed to the men in attendance that, “A father is someone who gives life, and that’s exactly what a priest does. A priest gives life in the spiritual order. And this is intimately tied to the sacraments. In baptism, he gives spiritual life; in the sacrament of reconciliation, he is the agent by which life is restored; in the Eucharist, he nourishes it; in confirmation, he strengthens it; in holy orders and marriage, he focuses it vocationally; in the sacrament of the sick, he heals it and orders it to its transcendent fulfillment. Radiating out from the sacraments is the totality of a priest’s life. All of his other fathering is a consequence of his sacramental life-giving.” - Fr. Francis Bitterman
After Barron’s presentation, seminarians shared their vocation stories and how they discerned their vocation. During the Mass celebrated by Cardinal George, the cardinal shared his own vocational journey. He said his father was initially hesitant in encouraging his vocation but finally told him, “If you’re going to be a priest, be a good one!” - Fr. Francis Bitterman
“The men were not only able to see the beauty of our campus but they were also able to meet likeminded people who will encourage them in their journey.” - Fr. Barron
Fr. Francis Bitterman noted; "I will be contacting the men who attended the event to invite them to join one of the Vocation Office’s discernment programs. Men in high school are encouraged to participate in the Quigley Scholars Program. And men who are about to graduate high school or who already attend college are encouraged to consider applying to St. Joseph College Seminary at Loyola University." Father Mike Scherschel, assistant vocation director and recruiter for St. Joseph’s, said that one of the men who attended “Who Will Fill These Shoes?” has already contacted his office about transferring into St. Joseph’s Seminary for next year.
"I was especially impressed by the number of priests who came and showed such enthusiasm for the priesthood and its future.” - Fr. Barron