By Joyce Gan

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The 53 young men who attended the Archdiocesan Vocation Retreat gathered for a parting shot after the closing Mass celebrated by Msgr Eugene Vaz (centre) with priests and seminarians who were with them on this retreat.

SINGAPORE - Fifty three young men attended the Archdiocesan Vocation Retreat from May 11- 13 at St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary.

The relatively large number of people wishing to discern their vocation moved seminarian Brother Jude David, an organizing committee member for the retreat, to say that "an experience like this gives us the impetus to continue journeying towards the priesthood".

The retreatants themselves were also grateful for the opportunity. Shawn Wong, 17, from Church of St. Francis Xavier, had attended the 2004 retreat and had come again "to renew my experience and to discern under the encouragement of my parish's priests, Fathers Anthony Ho and Gerard Weerakoon". He now feels that he is called to the diocesan priesthood. "But I will have to complete my studies first and continue praying and working with my spiritual director Father Gerard Weerakoon," he added.

Another retreatant, Shawn Teo, 24, from Church of Christ the King, said that he had wanted to come for the Vocation Retreat a long time ago but never did and was glad to have made it this time. After spending time in the Adoration Room and going through reconciliation, Shawn now feels "lighter and more at peace". But "it is still too early to tell if I'm called to the priesthood," he said.

At the closing Mass, Msgr Eugene Vaz advised the retreatants that "if in the spirit of discernment you hear God's call to the priesthood, just say 'Thank you' to him and prepare for this journey".

Carmelite Sisters, who are being housed at the seminary while their residence at Bukit Teresa Road is under repair, were present at the Mass together with members of the Serra Club to pray for the retreatants.

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