Hundreds just do it for vocations

Hundreds just do it for vocations

stilts-webPhoto by Alan M. Dumoff








Walkers go around, and under, Kari Janisse, who stood by to offer encouragement to those on the 5K run and walk for vocations April 21 at Washington State Park in Sewell on April 21.


SEWELL — For one day, Washington Lake Park here served as both a church and track, as an all-day event drew more than 1,000 adults and youth; seminarians, clergy, religious and lay, to gather and pray — and race — for an increase in vocations for the Diocese of Camden.

The iRace for Vocations 5K Run/Walk, held April 21, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, began with a noon Mass in the amphitheater, celebrated by Bishop Dennis Sullivan.

“Jesus is the (ultimate) good shepherd,” but “we need more good shepherds,” Bishop Sullivan told the over-600 people assembled on the lawn, with blankets and chairs, underneath a cloudless sky, with the heat of the sun tapered occasionally by a chill breeze.

“Too many noises,” the bishop said, prevent youth from hearing God’s calling them to be shepherds. He urged all to pray for youth to “hear (God) with their hearts and respond with their lives.”

Everyone, Bishop Sullivan said, must “not only hear with our ears, but with our heart and soul, and follow the Lord’s will for our lives.”

After Mass, over 900 individuals participated in the 5K run or 1-mile walk.  The walkers/runners were armed with lists of sponsors who offered prayer pledges for vocations.

A barbecue followed, with attendees enjoying hot dogs, chips, cookies, and iced tea, and dancing to the pumped-up sounds provided by Father Joseph Ganiel, pastor of Holy Child Parish in Runnemede, who served as DJ for the day, and led youth in such hits as “YMCA” and “The Electric Slide.”

Calling the event “a joyful, spirited, family event,” Father Michael Romano, director of vocations for the diocese, said he was “overwhelmed” by the crowd, who “understood it was a faith-raiser, to ask God for more priests and religious, for our diocese.”

Holy Family Parish in Sewell organized the inaugural iRace for Vocations last year, with more than 200 participants. With the Office of Vocations partnering up with Holy Family this year, the event brought together individuals from all over the diocese in prayer and hope.

“It’s great to see so much enthusiasm for vocations,” said Jesse Hornblum, 25, a parishioner Our Lady of Peace Parish in Williamstown, who was running.

Sister Dorothy Aloisio, a Franciscan Missionary of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was walking for vocations with six of her fellow order sisters, stationed in Glassboro.

“Any kind of vocation to priesthood, religious life, is extremely important today to our society,” she said.

“An event like this encourages a culture of vocations, which our diocese needs,” Bishop Sullivan said.


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