Home Diocesan News Note from Father Chris Luoni, director of the diocesan Office of Vocations: “I’m delegating my space this month to seminarian Ryan Furlong.”
Note from Father Chris Luoni, director of the diocesan Office of Vocations: “I’m delegating my space this month to seminarian Ryan Furlong.” Print E-mail
Friday, 23 February 2018 15:24

The Diocese of Youngstown offers many great programs that allow seminarians and people from around the diocese to get together for both educational and recreational activities. Last December, “Bowling With Seminarians” at Park Center Lanes, North Canton, was phenomenal. Various youth and young adult groups from around the diocese came. There was bowling, pizza, and a chance for the seminarians and the youth to get together and enjoy an afternoon of fun and excitement. It is a particularly fun being with my brother seminarians as we meet the youth and hear their stories. I am inspired by working with the young people and seeing how faith-filled they are. In my own vocation events like these helped me connect with priests and seminarians and allowed me to talk about my vocation with like-minded individuals and with those who could give me insight and advice that I needed to take the next step.


It is important that the youth get to see seminarians doing normal, everyday activities. This helps them understand that seminarians, priests, and religious are normal people who enjoy the same things they do – so we come across as accessible and approachable. They also get to see us having fun. One thing that allowed my vocation to prosper was the happiness and joy that I saw in the priests who inspired me. They were not afraid to kick back and enjoy themselves. My brother seminarians and I have worked with many of these kids before and we have established a rapport with them. This is important because kids need to know that they can relate to us and also that we have the ability to relate to them. All of this builds great pastoral relationships.

I know that this event was a real success just by the sheer number of people who showed up. Also, the feedback that I received afterwards was very positive, not just from the students, but from the seminarians, youth leaders, clergy, and parents. It is important, especially in today’s day and age, to build the necessary community that binds people together. There is more to Church than to just sit in the pews on Sundays. We need to carry Christ’s message in the good times and in the bad, in serious situations, and in fun situations as well. There is never a wasted opportunity to spread the faith, even when you are eating pizza and bowling.

I personally felt enriched by Bowling With Seminarians and I know that my fellow seminarians enjoyed this as well. I am sure that events like this, as well as many other great events sponsored by the vocations office and the diocese, will draw big numbers in the future. It was definitely an event where people came together, had a good time, enjoyed the faith, and enjoyed each other’s company.

Furlong, a diocesan seminarian at St. Mary of the West Seminary, Cincinnati, is serving his pastoral year at Little Flower Parish, Middlebranch.


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