St. Isaac Jogues School was host to 800 seventh and eighth graders from sixteen different schools from around the Diocese of Joliet for the first annual “Here I Am Lord” Vocations and Discipleship Workshop on Wednesday, March 4th. The day gave 7th and 8th graders from the diocese a better understanding about the different options when responding to God’s call and to offer an environment to reflect on these choices and deepen their relationship to Jesus Christ.
Bishop Daniel Conlon opened the daylong event with a prayer and some words of welcome to all of the teachers and students. Father Burke Masters, the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Joliet, welcomed and introduced the seminarians that spoke about themselves and where they are in their journey to the priesthood.
Anthony Redfield led the students in Praise and Worship music before the students were introduced to the main speaker of the day. Matt Fradd, who speaks to middle school, high school and college students all around the country, spoke to the 7th and 8th graders in a fun and engaging manner that allowed time for students to ask questions about their faith. He experienced a profound conversion at World Youth Day in Rome in 2000 and afterward committed himself to inviting others to know Jesus Christ and the Church Christ founded.
The middle of the day consisted of three break out sessions, Vocation Stories by the seminarians and various religious sisters, brothers, and priests, the Vocations Fair ~ students were able to walk through the over 30 religious communities in the Parish Center and ask questions and get to know the difference between orders, and the Catholic Quiz Bowl ~ a friendly competition between schools consisting of questions about their Catholic knowledge. Confessions were offered during most of the day.
The day culminated with Benediction and Adoration in the church led by Father Belmonte, SJ, Superintendent of Schools, accompanied by Praise and Worship music to set the tone for the students to pray and reflect on all that they had been exposed to during the day.
By all accounts the day seems to have been a great success ~ so much so that St. Isaac’s has been asked to host this event next year! Plans are underway to bring this experience to St. Isaac’s next year!