This summer, a Men's Vocations Retreat will be held in Winona, MN (July 15-20), as well as a Women's Retreat in Phoenix, AZ (July 29-August 3).
Choosing whether or not to pursue the priesthood or religious life can be daunting and confusing. Misconceptions and well-meaning advice abound. Accurate information and prudent guidance are sadly deficient.
The vocations retreat aims at alleviating these difficulties. The retreatants will follow a variation of the five-day Ignatian exercises designed to put their souls in the best possible dispositions for making this important choice. Throughout these five days, the priests preaching the retreat will instruct them about these states of life and the requirements for admission.
Daily consultation with one of these priests, as well as the possibility for continued contact after the retreat, will facilitate good resolutions and perseverance in carrying them out.
Preachers of the Vocations Retreats:
Retreat Master: Fr. John Mark McFarland
Currently the prior of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Academy, and Retreat House in Phoenix, Arizona, Fr. McFarland has dedicated himself to the study of the theology and spirituality of vocations from his seminary days. Since his ordination in 2012, his apostolate has been dedicated mostly to work with high school students and young adults. Through spiritual direction and retreats, he has guided more than twenty people to enter the seminary or religious life.
Assistant Preacher: Fr. Kenneth Dean (Men's - Winona)
Ordained in 1990, Fr. Dean has extensive experience working with those pursuing the priesthood and religious life. In addition to many years as a pastor and prior, he has had two stints as a professor at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary and is currently the Novice Master for Holy Angels Novitiate. In this latter capacity, he is charged with the spiritual formation of those young men aspiring to be religious brothers in the Society of St. Pius X.
Assistant Preacher: Fr. Charles Ward (Men's - Winona)
The prior of Holy Angels Novitiate, Fr. Ward has been a priest since 1986. His more than three decades of priestly experience as pastor, prior, and bursar provide him with a great breadth of knowledge concerning the priestly vocation. Moreover, his current position, working in conjunction with Fr. Dean to form new brothers, well situates him to assist those interested in pursuing this state of life.