Let me tell you how awesome the Lord is to those who follow him...Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) hosted its first Fan into Flame retreat fifteen years ago, and since then has led college students from around the country though this powerful, faith enriching retreat. The theme of this retreat is inspired by 2 Timothy 1:6 which states, “For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
Last year, Pontifical College Josephinum Vice Rector Fr. Walter Oxley extended the invitation for Saint Paul’s Outreach to lead a group of seminarians through the retreat. So impressed by the response of these young seminarians, Fr. Oxley wanted nothing more than to have SPO back for a second round!
The academic excellence expected from theseminarians at the Jospehinum is set quite high for these young men. They study and pray hard year round, and when spring break comes, these guys can’t wait to have relief from their day to day rigorous schedule. Many take off to various places to restore and relax, but for 25 enthusiastic seminarians and four priests, including Fr. Oxley, skipping town was not an option. They were thrilled to stay back to attend the retreat with expectant faith that their yes would bear much fruit.
Gathering in St. Joseph Chapel, the weekend off in the best way possible: with the Eucharistic celebration of the Holy Mass. The day moved quickly as the men soaked up the grace that was poured out to them. That evening, Fr. Oxley delivered a powerful message exhorting these young men to not fall into intellectual pride, but rather to know that the “success of a priest is not measured by intellectualism, but by fatherhood”. He continued to preach the heavenly Father’s love for them, and that they must first come to know his Fatherhood and their sonship before being able to bless others with the great gift of the priesthood.
This weekend had a very strong impact in the lives of these young seminarians. As these men continue to mature in their faith and their vocation to the priesthood becomes actualized, the grace they received from this retreat will be carried into their Apostolic ministry throughout the entire country. SPO is blessed to be a gift to the Josephinum in this way and are honored to share in the goodness of the Lord together!
-submitted by Dominic DeMatte, Assistant Branch Director