Running to give vocations a push

Participants young and old take to the track at Williamstown High School during the sixth annual iRace4Vocations on Sunday, April 30.
Photo by Alan M. Dumoff

From the shores of Atlantic City and Absecon; from the fields of Vineland and Hammonton; from the streets of Woodstown and Haddon Heights, they came.

Families, friends, high school sports teams, youth groups, Knights of Columbus, deacons, women religious, seminarians and priests laced up their sneakers, slathered on sunscreen, and slid on their sunglasses for the sixth annual iRace4Vocations, held at Williamstown High School on the third Sunday of Easter, April 30.

The fun and festive event, which began with an afternoon Mass celebrated by Bishop Dennis Sullivan, followed by a 5K run/1 mile walk, brought the six counties of the Diocese of Camden together to pray for all to hear God’s call, in vocations to the priesthood, religious life, sacred married life, and sacred single life.

For Cristina Chillem, youth minister at Saint Peter Parish in Merchantville, the day “felt like a big Catholic party.”

“There we all were,” she said, remarking on her interactions with her own parish youth, diocesan priests and seminarians during the day. “It was fun for all of us to come together as one community of faith,” Chillem added.

The 26-year-old placed second in her age group for females.

Seminarian Carlo Santa Teresa, finishing his first Theology year at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall in South Orange, New Jersey, felt joy in being “able to pray with the people of the diocese … people who (seminarians like me) hope to minister to one day.”

At the same time, the iRace gave the faithful the opportunity to “see the fruit of their prayers,” he said.