More than fun and games at annual vocations picnic  

More than 60 young men and women attended this year’s Vocations Picnic held August 6 at St. Joseph’s Parish in LaFayette. The evening, which brings together those discerning or interested in learning more about vocations to the priesthood and religious life, started with food, games and activities including Kan Jam, Ultimate Frisbee and a few icebreakers.

   Mary Hallman, diocesan director of the Office of Evangelization, spoke to those gathered for the event. She said that everyone is created uniquely by God and that we are all His original masterpiece. “We all have a mission in this life. We need to take the time to connect with the Lord and find out how He will use us and how we can be the best version of ourselves,” she noted.

   Discerners were given a chance to ask any questions they wanted to a panel including priests, deacons, sisters and Bishop Robert J. Cunningham.

   One young man asked, “What is your advice for someone discerning a vocation in 140 characters or less?” Deacon Zach Miller responded, “Keep close to the Lord every single day of your life.” Bishop Cunningham added, “Seek God’s mercy always.”

   Brendan Foley, a first-time attendee of the picnic, said that he appreciated the opportunity to speak with Bishop Cunningham, who attends the event every year. “I love his accessibility and the support he gives to those discerning their vocation in life,” he added.

   The Vocations Picnic, organized by the diocesan Office of Vocation Promotion, is held the first Wednesday of August each year. High school and college students are invited to attend and meet sisters, brothers, priests and seminarians. For more information, contact Father Joe O’Connor, director of the Office of Vocation Promotion, at (315) 470-1468 or joconnor@syrdio.org.
 
   Father Christopher Ballard is the parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville.

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