Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz spoke to Kathy Walker, center, and Delayney Vowels, right, both students at Presentation Academy at the Dinner with the Archbishop Oct. 11. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)
By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Nearly 350 young people and 140 adult sponsors from around the Archdiocese of Louisville gathered at St. Gabriel Church Oct. 11 to celebrate evening vespers and to take part in a dinner with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz.
Once again the theme of the annual dinner was “Bringing Christ to Others,” which might sound familiar. It’s also the theme of the Catholic Services Appeal, which provides support for the “Dinner with the Archbishop.”
Archbishop Kurtz was joined at the event by Bishop Charles C. Thompson, who leads the Diocese of Evansville, Ind.
During the evening vespers service, Archbishop Kurtz noted that a “vocation means being open to God’s plan.” The archbishop noted that earlier in the week he met with Pope Francis in Rome and that the pope asked him how vocations were in the U.S.
“I couldn’t help but to think of all of you tonight,” he said.
The archbishop told the youth gathered that “each one of you is a faith-filled young person.”
“You might say, ‘Well I’m really not sure why I’m here.’ But God knows why you are here,” he said.
Archbishop Kurtz invited the youth to look beyond the friends they came with and to seek out new friendships with others at the dinner. “It’s important that you understand there are other young people who really want to understand more about their faith and live their faith in Christ,” he said.
Alexis Cammack, a seventh-grader from Nativity Academy and a member of St. Augustine Church, said she identified with what the archbishop said about branching out and meeting other youth.
“I wanted to a get a feel, to be a part of the Catholic environment more,” she said at the dinner.
Kennedy Yurt from St. Gabriel Church said the evening “was a nice experience to interact with everyone.”
Following dinner, Bishop Thompson, former pastor of Holy Trinity Church and also former vicar general for the Archdiocese of Louisville, gave a reflection about his vocation.
He said when he’s in prayer, he asks himself: “Am I being Christ-centered?”
“Because when I’m being self-centered or someone else-centered other than Christ, I’m not nearly at my best,” he said.
He told the young people gathered that each one of them has a vocation by their very baptism.
“You are here tonight to consider your own vocation,” he said “You have a vocation. You have a calling. You have to pay attention and listen. Pay attention to the people around you who are encouraging you.”
Throughout the evening the youth were able to visit with and hear from representatives of various religious vocations.
Religious communities that were present included the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Passionists of Holy Cross Province, Sisters of Loretto, Conventual Franciscans, Discalced Carmelites, Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph, Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Passionist Nuns of Whitesville, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Benedictine monks from St. Meinrad Archabbey, Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Ind., and the Xaverian Brothers.
The annual event is hosted by the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Vocation Office. Seminarians in formation for the priesthood for the archdiocese served various roles at the dinner, including greeting guests and handing out programs.
Following dinner and Bishop Thompson’s reflection, the youth and adult sponsors also heard a presentation by nationally-known speaker and singer Sarah Hart.