[CUA Office of Public Affairs]


Sept. 29, 1999

Vocations Nurtured at The Catholic University of America

Washington, D.C. Ė In the Menís Discernment Group at The Catholic University of America, Matthew J. Foley of Quincy, Mass., has found a supportive environment in which he can air his questions and concerns as he considers the priesthood.

††††††††††† The process of discernment is a spiritual journey, Foley says, "and at Catholic University, itís a journey you donít have to take alone."

††††††††††† "At our meetings, we have a chance to witness to each other, ask questions and find support," Foley says.

††††††††††† The group, less than a year old, has more than doubled since it began last January, says the Rev. Robert Schlageter, O.F.M.-Conv., director of CUAís Campus Ministry office. About 25 young men ó ranging from freshmen to graduate students ó now meet weekly for discussion in a relaxed and informal setting. The group also shares liturgies and suppers together on a regular basis.

††††††††††† Father Schlageter has been encouraged by the increase in young men on CUAís campus willing to consider a vocation. He attributed it to the renewed spirituality he sees among the young people on campus. "We announced this at a Mass last year, and ten students turned up," he says. "Now the group just keeps growing. Every week, you see a new face."

††††††††††† The Rev. G. Michael Bugarin, a CUA graduate student in canon law and director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, serves as an advisor to the group. "Itís a great group of young men who are looking to see how God is calling them," Father Bugarin says. "They have questions and pressures, such as how will their family and friends respond to the news."

Some members in the group are further in the discernment process and have taken steps toward the priesthood. Others are in the early stages, gathering information, praying and talking to others who are contemplating life after graduation.

††††††††††† "For some students, this group is the first time they have had a chance to really talk about vocations," Father Schlageter says. "Theyíll come to me and say, ĎIíve got this crazy idea.í When we can put them in touch with other students who are going through the same thing, they donít feel like theyíre alone."

††††††††††† Students like Mr. Foley are carefully weighing their decisions. "Itís always been in the back of my mind, but the idea of being a priest has deepened for me since I came to Catholic University," says Mr. Foley, a junior majoring in politics. "I have a few years to think about the best way to answer Godís call, and the support of my friends and family will help me make that decision."

††††††††††† The Campus Ministry office plans a similar group for women considering religious vocations, Father Schlageter says. For both men and women, a supportive campus environment makes the discernment process easier for students.

††††††††††† "On our campus, when you talk about discerning a vocation, you are respected and supported by your peers," he says.

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Revised: February 9, 2001

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