When many men consider the seminary, their perspective is often similar to that of current College I seminarian Stephen Moening: “I had this preconceived notion that it was quiet all the time, guys walked around with their hands folded in the prayer position, and everyone slept in one big room in bunk beds.” The Office of Priestly Vocations for the Archdiocese of Detroit holds Discernment Weekends throughout the year to dispel this notion of seminary life and give men ages 17-55 the opportunity to see what it is really like to be a seminarian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
The Office of Priestly Vocations hosts three Discernment Weekends at Sacred Heart throughout the academic year, as well as two Discernment Overnights for young men in high school. On the January 19-22 Discernment Weekend, eighteen men who are considering the priesthood joined Fr. Joseph Horn and seminarians from the archdiocese.
Father Horn took over the role of director of priestly vocations in July 2016, and he has been focusing on the importance of prayer in supporting vocations. “When first assuming the role of director of priestly vocations,” says Father, “I felt overwhelmed. But I took it to prayer and heard, ‘You are doing is only as good as your praying,’ so my first priority was to increase prayer for vocations throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit.”
Father Horn believes that the recent increase in number of attendees to this program is due in large part to the contribution that pastors throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit have made in committing to offering Masses every month for vocations.
During the weekend, discernment guests have the opportunity to pray in community, talk with seminarians about their experience of the seminary, hear talks about the pillars of priestly formation, and enjoy fraternity with one another and with the seminarians. A highlight for many of the men is the chance to meet Archbishop Allen Vigneron. The archbishop takes time to talk with the guests, tell his own vocation story, and answer questions from the discernment guests.
The majority of the current seminarians for the Archdiocese of Detroit have attended a discernment weekend in the past. They have all remarked that it was a tremendous help to see other young men also discerning a call to the priesthood; that they were not the only ones.
The next discernment weekend is March 30-April 2, 2017. More information and registration information can be found at detroitpriest.com.