Archbishop William Goh and priests celebrating the closing Mass during the Diocesan Vocation Discernment Retreat.Archbishop William Goh and priests celebrating the closing Mass during the Diocesan Vocation Discernment Retreat.
Give them something to eat yourselves.

This was the theme of this year’s Diocesan Vocation Discernment Retreat, held at the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary from Aug 1-3.

The annual retreat is held to help young men discover their vocation in life and gain a better understanding of the diocesan priesthood.

This year’s retreat was based on Jesus’ feeding of 5,000 men by multiplying five loaves and two fish. (Mt 14:13-21)

Sixty-seven men, aged 18-35, participated in the retreat, which emphasised to them that even though they may experience feelings of inadequacy, they need not be afraid to offer and surrender to God what little they have so as to allow Him to work miracles with their lives.

The nine diocesan priests who helped out during the retreat as presenters, confessors and spiritual directors shared with retreatants how they experienced God working with and through them when they answered His call.

In his homily during the retreat’s closing Mass, Archbishop William Goh noted that young people today are living in challenging times as the line separating truth from falsehood is increasingly blurred. There is thus a greater need to be attuned to the voice of truth.

He encouraged participants to live life fully, and urged those experiencing even a small stirring within themselves towards the priestly or Religious life to be courageous and take concrete steps to discern if God is indeed calling them to that way of life.

Any vocation, whether it is the priesthood, Religious life, marriage or singlehood, ultimately requires a gift of oneself to another, a willingness to lay down one’s life for others, he said.

Participants said the retreat certainly helped them in their spiritual discernment.

Mr Daniel Tham, 33, from Holy Family parish, felt that the retreat helped him to “be more sensitive to the Giver of Gifts and to recognise and accept the gifts in the journey to holiness”.

Mr Ian Finian Heng, 26, from Nativity parish, said that he would recommend the retreat to “any single male Catholic determined to live out his faith”.

He added that he was “edified through frank sharings by the priests and had a better idea of the joys and struggles of the priesthood”.

Many lay volunteers from various parishes and ministries also supported the participants through prayers and Eucharistic adoration.

For more information on the seminary, check  www.sfxms.org.sg. The next vocation recollection will be held from Oct 10-11. Look out for details in CatholicNews.

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