THANK HEAVENS FOR THOSE ELEVENS
How old were you when you decided that you wanted some day to get married? At what age did you begin to think about a profession and your future education? Sociologists and others are fairly certain that a child begins his or her discernment process about vocation, profession, education when they are eleven years old. I think that was the case for me. I began to focus on becoming a priest long before I really knew much about priestly ministry. A friend decided to become a fireman at about the same time. Then a dream, a desire, a direction begins to solidify in eleventh grade – junior year in high school. That is when families begin to talk about college or university, take campus visits, think about majors and minors (albeit in a preliminary way). So the number “11″ takes on great significance in vocation discernment.
This week for about the ninth or tenth time with the cooperation of our Catholic elementary and high schools, eleven year olds, and eleventh graders will gather for a full day at St. Lawrence Catholic School in Tampa. I show up for a brief “cameo” with the fifth graders (eleven year olds) and celebrate Mass for the juniors (eleventh graders) in high school. The Serra Club of St. Petersburg and the Diocesan Vocation Committee help feed the youngsters and the indefatigable Father Len Plazewski organizes the full days activity. I don’t know this for certain, but I sense that the younger ones (the eleven) like it and the older ones (eleventh graders) tolerate it. It is a lot of work for the generous organizers and we as a local Church ought to be very grateful to them. FOCUS ELEVEN is a very important part of our over-all vocation recruitment program.
I am impressed annually by the energy and spirit at these days. It can’t hurt and there is evidence that it does help. Prayers, please, for the three days of FOCUS ELEVEN which begin tomorrow, Tuesday at St. Lawrence.