I arrived on Saturday and crashed dinner with two priests and a layman. Even though a 35 minute wait turned into 90, we still had a great time. (Comp'ed appetizers helped!)
Sunday was a presentation on how to implement the new program for priestly formation into our work as vocation directors by the faculty and staff of St. John Vianney Seminary here in Denver. They seem to have a pretty unique view on things, and really give their guys a challenge to embrace that call from Christ. The unique nugget that I'll take from it: Don't ask general discernment questions, but ask 'Is Jesus callin you to the priesthood, or not?' This question hones things in on the real issue, and can prevent the 'fence sitting.'
Last night was an address by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's Nuncio as Permanent Observer to the UN. He was supposed to give the keynote this morning, but was called before the General Assembly. Somehow, they ranked higher than a group of 300 vocation directors. The nerve! His talk was excellent, but hard to summarize. It was more along the lines of his personal reflections on being called to the priesthood and the encounter with Christ. I think he stunned us all into silence, as there were no questions afterwards, a rarity for this group. His talk reminded me of a story of Archbishop Sheen and Orson Wells being at the same party and both asked to read Psalm 24 (?) (The Lord is my Shepherd). Wells went first and read it with power and prestige, and upon his finish, loud applause. Archbishop Sheen read the Psalm with prayer and conviction, inspiring silence among his audience. The host quipped: 'One knew the Psalm, and one knew the Shepherd.' Archbishop Migliore knows the Shepherd, and what a privelige to hear him speak.
This morning was business meetings and another inspiring welcome by our president, Fr. Len P of Tampa/St. Pete. As it seems is common everywhere right now, there was a lengthy discussion about dues, and an increase of dues. Money makes the world go round, after all.
However, the best asset so far was a new 'Guide for Discernment' which is newly published by NCDVD. 'Formational' rather than 'informational,' it centers on 10 sections for prayer and discernment, and is truly a unique contribution to vocation work. Fr. Tom Richter of Bismark is the primary author, and centered it around rules 3, 4, & 5 in St. Ignatius of Loyola's Discernment of Spirits. I look forward to spending time with it, in addition to using it with potential candidates.
There are two potential developments that involve your humble scribe here, both are still in the works, so I'll post developments as I can.
All in all, things are great here. Although, I did think Denver was in the Mountains, but they are still a good spot away. I thought they were joking that the airport was in Kansas, but it's out there a ways. The little part of the city I've seen so far is very beautiful.
Finally, a word about our host. Fr. Jim is the DoV here in Denver and has been wonderfully gracious. Well, he claims to be friends with a Kevin Knight of New Advent; if it's true, we'll see....
Keep up the prayers for our little gathering. Still to come are regional meetings this afternoon before dinner out as a group. Tomorrow brings a morning of reflection by Bishop Burbige of Raleigh, NC, at St. John Vianney Seminary here in Denver, before afternoon excursions. (Real cultural ones, too, like a visit to a local brewery!) (Speaking of Raleigh, Brad Watkins, who is their assitant Vocation Director, is here and we had the chance to have breakfast together.)
Wednesday is another keynote, this by Mr. Curtis Martin, founder of FOCUS, more business meetings, afternoon workshops, evening Mass with Archbishop Chaput, and our closing banquet.
Thursday morning will see my return to the Queen City of the Midwest for another evening banquet, this with Cardinal Foley in celebration of the 1st anniversary of the Son Rise Morning Show on Sacred Heart Radio.