Each October, St. Christopher's School in Nashua hosts a Vocation Day. The day begins with Mass in and is followed by a lovely breakfast and then various priests, religious, and me (!) going around and speaking with students about our vocation. This is the third year I have been invited and I think I was the only lay person this year, it's quite an honor actually. My predecessors were always invited too so it has nothing to do with me!
This year's Mass was celebrated by Bishop Libasci who gave a nice homily reflecting on Blessed John Paul II (whose feast day is today). He told the students about John Paul's famous three words, "Be not afraid." The bishop told the students not to be afraid to listen to God and to follow His path for us. I was sitting near the front of the church and all the students were behind us but you would have never known. They were so quiet and well behaved and they sang their little hearts out. It was so sweet hearing their voices. I was feeling a little wistful as I had to run into my son's school today and I peaked in his classroom and seeing him sitting there doing his work warmed my heart.
After Mass we were all treated to a delicious breakfast but I didn't eat much as I was chatting with Abbot Matthew Leavy, OSB of Saint Anselm Abbey. Abbot Matthew retired as abbot of the abbey and chancellor of Saint Anselm College last year and then spent the last eleven months at a monastery in Hungary. It was great catching up with him and learning about his time there learning more about the language, the culture, etc. I asked him if he was fluent in Hungarian and he said, "God isn't even fluent in Hungarian." I also had a nice chat with a priest from Westfield, MA who has family in the area.
We all then moved to our classes where we spoke for 15 or so minutes to three different classes. I spoke to one 5th grade class and two 6th grade classes. When I arrived I was greeted with a box of buffalo wings from Mrs. Edmond and Ms. Wefers, the 6th grade teachers. They know me well! The kids are always a lot of fun and I probably spend more time getting to know them. I know it can't be terribly exciting to listen to me drone on so I try to be fun and interactive and asking them lots of questions and be silly. I did spend time telling my story and how I discovered that when choosing a path in life, always go where your passions are, not the money. If you follow the money, I told them, you will never be happy.
I always look forward to this day as I leave with so much energy. I will be back there in June to speak to the 6th graders again at their retreat. St. Christopher's is an amazing school and a wonderful parish led by Fr. Richard Kelley, I cherish our relationship.