By Father Garry Giroux
Coordinator of the Vocations Summit, Diocese of Ogdensburg
If we encounter someone who appears animated and joyful, being curious, we will probably ask, “What’s the big deal? What has you so excited?” Enthusiasm and joy awaken our healthy curiosity. Why? Enthusiasm and joy are attractive, and often contagious. As the history of our Faith attests, healthy curiosity has led millions of souls to peace and joy on this side of the Kingdom, and to eternal happiness on the other side. So, where can we find some excitement, some enthusiasm and joy to attract our healthy curiosity?
The Diocese of Ogdensburg will host INSPIRE: Called to Love, a free, daylong conference focusing on the universal call to holiness and featuring well-known Catholic speakers Sept. 25 at the Olympic Center Complex in Lake Placid.
Why should parishioners, consecrated religious, deacons, and priests be excited about the INSPIRE Vocations Summit?
The Vocations Summit will celebrate the universal call to holiness; this call is given to everyone at his or her baptism; the call to holiness is to be lived out in the vocations of marriage, the single life, the consecrated religious life, or the ordained ministry. The Vocations Summit will remind participants that holiness catches the attention of our world because holiness is truly breathtaking. As St. Paul writes in his Letter to the Romans, “Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” The Vocations Summit will inspire participants to imagine what our homes, our parishes, our schools, and our communities could be like if a good portion of the people that attend INSPIRE: Called to Love claim Christ’s invitation to holiness. The Gospel enthusiasm and joy engendered by the Vocations Summit could captivate the attention of the young, the indifferent, and the lapsed.
Internationally known speakers Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and creator/host of the Catholicism series; author and Pope St. John Paul II biographer George Weigel; author and radio host Jennifer Fulwiler; and Bishop Christopher Coyne of the Diocese of Burlington, Vt., will speak at INSPIRE: Called to Love. Whether we are single or married, a consecrated religious or ordained, these speakers will remind us of the world’s need for our holiness. For those already committed to a particular vocation, and for those in the process of discerning God’s call, these speakers will provide both formation and encouragement.
The Vocations Summit is entirely free for those attending — there is no registration fee and the midday meal is also free. Bishop of Ogdensburg Terry LaValley, not wanting cost to be an obstacle, especially to families, decided there will be no participant cost for the Vocations Summit.
Psalm 127 reminds us, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Bishop LaValley and the members of the Diocesan Envisioning Team are aware that it is the Holy Spirit whose promptings and inspiration gave birth to the idea of INSPIRE: Called to Love; the members of the Vocations Summit Planning Team are conscious that it is the Holy Spirit whose power and presence is guiding the planning and preparations for the Vocations Summit. On Sunday, September 25, at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, it will be the Lord’s gift of the Holy Spirit which will inspire us to recognize we can “cultivate a culture of vocations.”
A version of this article first appeared in the March 16, 2016, issue of the North Country Catholic, the newspaper of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. This article has been edited and condensed. It appears here courtesy of Father Giroux and the NCC.
INSPIRE: Called to Love Vocations Summit
Date: Sept. 25
Time: Doors open at 9 a.m.; Summit begins at 10:30 a.m.
Place: Olympic Center Complex, Lake Placid
Cost: Free. Registration required by Sept. 9
Features: Daylong conference with keynote speaker Bishop Robert Barron; other speakers include George Weigel, Jennifer Fulwiler, and Bishop Christopher Coyne
Contact: For more information, full schedule, and to register, visit