Twelve men attend discernment retreat

WINNSBORO—The vocations office introduced a new element at the annual discernment retreat by inviting a priest from a religious order.
Father Elias Carr, a member of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, from Long Island, N.Y., led the liturgies and spiritual talks.
Father Jeffrey F. Kirby, vicar for vocations, said he wanted to highlight an order priest so those in the discernment process will know it is an option.
Also present was Father James Vasquez, from Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas, who led the retreat conferences.
Father Vasquez serves as formation director at Holy Trinity, where our diocesan college seminarians and pre-theologians now receive their formation.
In an e-mail to The Miscellany, Father Kirby said a total of 12 men from Greenville, Clemson, Columbia, Charleston, Beaufort and Aiken attended the retreat held Sept. 16-18 at White Oak Conference Center in Winnsboro.
They were treated to four workshops that discussed what discernment is, the role of virtue and prayer, understanding different vocations, and how to reach a conclusion. 
“Do Whatever He Tells You” is the diocesan vocations theme for the year, and the point of the retreat is teaching men how to figure out what God is telling them.
Father Kirby said it’s important for these men to get together and talk, to understand that discerning the priesthood isn’t a weird thing, but something that should be an integral part of being a Catholic man.
The group, who ranged in age from 19 to 28, also participated in praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, and Mass.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone served as special dinner guest, held a Q-and-A session with the retreatants, and offered a Vigil Mass.
Father Kirby said the questions are always “no holds barred” and the bishop always answers them. One area of concern seemed to be loneliness.
Bishop Guglielmone noted that loneliness is part of being human, and said he has prayer, friends and work to help him through it.
Participants are encouraged to continue the discernment process and not rush into hasty decisions based on high emotions from the retreat or peer pressure.
“We want them to let it settle and make sure it’s true,” Father Kirby said.