The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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August 10, 2001 Issue
Local News

A chance to ask questions

Valley vocations rally brings fun, information

By Sarah Malcore

APPLETON - More than 50 youths learned something about vocations to priesthood and religious life and had a lot of fun at the same time Aug. 1 at the first Fox Valley Steppin' Right with Jesus at St. Thomas More Church.

Because of the success of the previous two Steppin' Right With Jesus vocation awareness rallies at St. Agnes Church in Green Bay, the Green Bay Diocese's Vocations Office decided to expand the event to the Valley to give more youth a chance to meet Bp. Robert Banks and other priests and religious.

"It is exciting to see kids interested in vocations," said Fr. Tom Pomeroy, pastor of Holy Angels Parish, Darboy. "It is a wonderful way for young people to reflect on their own vocation. Every young person should be thinking about a religious vocation as well as marriage or single life. It is their job to dream at this age."

There was no lack of excitement among the youth.

"I got to meet a lot of new people, said Hanna Michaels, an 8th grader from St. Francis Parish in Hollandtown. "We are learning about God and the saints in a fun way, and it makes me feel closer to God. The event made me consider sisterhood. I also learned that whatever vocation I choose, God will love me just the same."

Cameron Kerkhoff, a 6th grader from St. Thomas More Parish in Appleton, said he "liked it because I got to learn what it would be like to be a priest. This made me think about it more than I did before. The best part was seeing Bp. Banks and getting my T-shirt signed!"

The talks given by the priests and religious made an impact on the youth.

"I liked the talk by Fr. Greg (Plata, OFM), I learned that there are different types of priests, and that God can call you in many different ways," said 6th grader Trevor Uitenbroek of Holy Angles in Darboy.

"I liked everything we did, especially the talks by the sisters. I learned so much that I didn't know before. I feel much closer to Jesus now," said Stefanie Chilson, a 7th grader at St. Mary in Kaukauna.

For Jackie LeCaptain, a 7th grader at Holy Cross in Mishicot, "The water balloon volleyball was so fun, especially when it turned into a water fight. Seeing priests and sisters having fun like that was great. The talks were also very interesting. I will for sure be back next year."

Among the participants were several high school students who helped conduct the day's activities. Among them was Kurt Krauss, a sophomore and a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Casco, who was at his third Steppin' Right.

"This is a good experience-it helps people see different options out there," Krauss said. "It gives you a chance to meet religious people and to hang out with them. It is cool to see them at church but still be able to spend time and have fun with them."

Anna Vosters, coordinator of youth ministry at St. Thomas More, Appleton, said she was pleased by the turnout. "Steppin' Right with Jesus is a great opportunity for middle school student to really get to know and have fun with priests, sisters and brothers. It was such a joy to see the excitement in so many kids' eyes as Bp. Banks signed their T-shirts. What a valuable opportunity for young people to learn about vocations."

Msgr. John Schuh, vice chancellor of the diocese agreed. "This is an opportunity for a warm personal experience for the youth to be with and share with the priests and sisters. It is a good effort to promote vocations and togetherness."

"This is a great opportunity for kids to meet us, to question us, and to learn more about what we do as priests, brothers and sisters. Equally good, the enthusiasm and response in learning more about our way of life. The kids have a real positive attitude toward us," said Fr. Greg Plata, OFM, vocation director of BVM Province of Franciscan Friars.

Sr. Laura Zelten, vocation director for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, said "Steppin' Right gives young people a chance to ask questions in a very non-threatening environment. It is an opportunity to 'be' with priests and sisters in a casual way. It is just a lot of fun!"

Bp. Banks, who spent the lunch hour meeting with the youth and signing T-shirts, said, "It is great to see young people interested in church. Encouragement of vocations starts when they are young. Every priest and sister started thinking about his or her vocation in grade school even if the decision came years later. We need to be praying for parents to encourage vocations to their children."

Details on next year's Steppin' Rights will be announced in spring 2002.

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