"These SPO guys have something and I want it!"
On January 15, 2011, a group of young men at the St. John Vianney Seminary (SJV) had the opportunity to get “it” – the fire of the Holy Spirit that they recognized in the SPO missionaries who staffed the first SJV Fan Into Flame Retreat. The reaction to the weekend was overwhelmingly positive; from SPO’s Executive Director Gordy DeMarais and veteran staff members Ryan O’Hara and Kevin Hadsall, to first-year seminarian participants, everyone left the retreat filled with grace and new zeal for the Gospel.
A common theme throughout the weekend was the growing awareness of an identity as sons of God and brothers in Christ. Participants acknowledged a renewed confidence in their relationship with God, along with a desire to see their love for God grow and spill out into their relationships with others. As they left the retreat, men shared parting thoughts such as “we need to continue to let the Holy Spirit bring that joy out and give it to others” and “never doubt your sonship in God and never limit what He can do with you.” Others shared a desire to know more of Scripture, a calling from God to “really know Jesus and not just know about Him – to know Him in our hearts.”
SPO was invited to put on this Fan Into Flame retreat by Fr. Michael Becker, the new rector of the St. John Vianney Seminary. An SPO alumnus himself, Fr. Becker attributes much of his priestly vocation to the influence of SPO in his life. “I would not be a priest, not be here serving at the seminary or longing to be a saint, if I had not encountered SPO.”
By the grace of God and the power of His Holy Spirit, may many of the men on last weekend’s retreat one day say the same!