(Photo courtesy Father David Schunk)
Some of the seminarians are pictured here during their visit to Washington, D.C., for the canonization of St. Junipero Serra.
Vocation anyone? High school boys get chance to discern priesthood
June 21st, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz
High school is a time when teens are considering what to do with their lives – and the Archdiocese of San Francisco is offering young men an opportunity to learn a bit more about the priesthood and religious life.
Archdiocesan vocations director Father David Schunk is launching a vocations discernment camp July 31-Aug. 2 where young men of high school age can learn about the priesthood and religious life in a relaxed and reflective environment. Discernment weekends for high school students are a growing trend, said Father Schunk. “This is spreading; more and more dioceses are doing it,” he said.
“This camp is to help high school age boys explore the possibility of a vocation,” said Father Schunk, “or to talk about a vocation. I’m not looking to sign people up right away, but this is a way to just plant that seed.”
Seminarians will help with the weekend at the Diocese of Oakland youth retreat center in Lafayette. The St. Thomas the Apostle/St. Monica youth and family minister Ryan Dilag will help Father Schunk run the weekend. There will be guest speakers, opportunities for prayer, and recreation. Families are asked to contribute $50 for the camp but scholarships are available. Application deadline is July 1.
A man needs to have graduated from high school, at the earliest, to be accepted for priestly formation, and Father Schunk said right now there is one seminarian who is college age. Most of the men are in their 20s and 30s. The weekend is a chance to think seriously about – or rule out – the priesthood or religious life, he said.
“Sometimes priests and religious, there’s this mysterious aura about them,” said Father Schunk, who entered the seminary at 24, is an avid Giants baseball fan and graduated from college with a music major. “We think they are different. They are just like everyone else with likes and dislikes. You don’t have to be a perfect person to be a priest – but we have to hopefully moving in that direction, trying to grow holier.”
“Priests are football fans, sports fans, enjoy music, cooking food, and laughter,” he said. “They have pets, like gardening – all types of things.”
In his homily at the ordination to the priesthood of Andrew Ginter on June 4, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, said “God plants one’s vocation in one’s heart.”
“We respond to God’s call no matter what, because it is the path to authenticity,” the archbishop said.
For more information, contact Father Schunk at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 614-5683.
From June 23, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.