Spotlight on youth vocations in Manassas

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the “Go Forth: Called and Chosen” event for eighth-graders at All Saints Church in Manassas March 5.

The event, co-sponsored by the Office of Vocations and the Office of Catholic Schools, featured Mass, a vocations program and lunch from Chick-fil-A.

Cooper Ray, a professional Catholic speaker and musician, played music before and during Mass, and led the program before Mass. 

Father Stephen M. Vaccaro, parochial vicar of Nativity Church in Burke, and Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist Sarah Doser, who lives in the religious community at St. Philip Church in Falls Church, gave brief testimonials on what holiness looks like. 

"If you want to hear God's voice and know his plan for you, you have to let yourself be in his presence," said Father Vaccaro. "Go to Mass every Sunday. Go and you'll never be lost." 

Sister Doser said she found herself raising her hand in second grade when someone asked if an of the students were considering religious life and other vocations. "God reached for me and I reached for him," she said. "Holiness for me as a sister means being online. I love those that are going to carry the church forward." 

Bishop Burbidge told the students to “Be excited about the new and exciting time in your life that will begin as high school students.”

He urged them to take with them “all that you have learned in your Catholic education: the teachings of Jesus and his church; the sound moral values you have learned; the tools that help you to pray and to stay strong in faith. With them, you can be assured that you will stay on the right path.”

At the end of Mass, Bishop Burbidge blessed medals of the diocesan patrons St. Thomas More and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on either side for schools to distribute to students. 

Eighth-graders from across the diocese, as well as a few home-schooled and public school students, mingled with religious sisters and brothers, as well as priests. 

Father Michael C. Isenberg, diocesan vocations director, said the event is an opportunity to “send the eighth-graders out to high school ready to go with the grace of God that he wants to give them,” he said. 

“The event is there to help open their eyes to the possibility of what God is doing in their life,” said Father Isenberg. “They can grow in holiness and know God more.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019

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