Come & See What You Will Discover
Glenmary Home Missioners' Vocation Office hosts several Come & See mission-experience events throughout the year for men discerning Glenmary vocations. While these weekends tend to follow the same basic format, each one is quite unique.
What makes each unique is the men who attend. These trips can include men who are in college or men who have been entrenched in a career for several years. Men have come from Ohio or from as far away as California, with others from many states in between. The majority come with a strong sense that they are called to join Glenmary—but some simply attend to explore the religious society and others to tag along with friends. Their backgrounds are varied. And there are as many different personality types as there are men who come to discern.
Every time I lead a Come & See, I try to know the basics about the individuals, which is why we ask all participants to fill out profile forms in advance. With this information, we know a bit more about the individuals, what to emphasize on the Come & See trip, and what questions we should try to answer. We also want to give the men discerning priesthood plenty of opportunities to meet Glenmary priests, and those discerning brotherhood ample chances to meet Glenmary brothers.
The most important thing a discerner who is beginning the process can do is actually attend one of these events. The second most important thing he can do is approach it with an open mind and open heart. The Holy Spirit is hard at work and has a message for each man.
Sometimes a small error can lead to discovering a whole new realm of possibility. For example, before a recent trip, my understanding was that one man was interested primarily in finding out more about Glenmary brotherhood. So I indicated his interest in my communications with the Glenmarians we were planning to visit. After the man arrived, I quickly found out that I had been mistaken, and that he was in fact leaning more towards a priestly call. As he talked with me and the Glenmarians we visited, though, he learned that the options for a Glenmary brother are not limited to being a builder (some of our brothers are, in fact, carpenters).
Instead, Glenmary brothers can use the gifts God has given them in whatever ways will be of most benefit to the missions. Sometimes that does mean developing carpentry skills to help build or renovate houses for people in need. But it can also mean developing bilingual skills to help immigrants be able to communicate with doctors, lawyers and others as needed. It can mean developing social work or counseling skills. It can mean using a law degree or nursing or pastoral ministry skills. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
If you are a man between the ages of 18 and 46 discerning a call to the religious life and to Glenmary priesthood or brotherhood, I urge you to first attend a Glenmary Come & See. If you don't attend, you will have only a very limited introduction to what this life is all about. Second, I urge you to open your mind and heart to the possibility that what you thought you were looking for may not be what God has in mind for you.
The next Glenmary Come & See mission trip is scheduled for April 11-14. Please contact us as soon as possible if you would like to join us.