‘Calling All 5th Graders’ gets a 21-T-shirt-gun salute

While God is many things – including humankind’s all-powerful and ever-forgiving creator – there is one divine characteristic that sometimes gets forgotten by young and old alike.

God is surprising, said Father Peter Finney, administrator of St. Rita Parish in New Orleans, especially when he reveals how we might use our gifts and unveil ones we might not have even realized we possessed.
Father Finney addressed the 1,300 fifth graders assembled at Mount Carmel Academy May 10 for the annual “Calling All Fifth Graders” vocation day.
“We all want to serve God, but we do it in a way that maintains who we are,” Father Finney said.

Father Finney urged his young listeners to notice the surprising hobbies, talents and vocational zig-zags taken by the many priests and religious sisters and brothers who would be offering their personal stories to them during the daylong event.
Father Peter shared a “surprising” element of his own personality by taking out a T-shirt gun and delivering shirts to a handful of lucky catchers.
Throughout the day, the fifth graders heard the vocational discernment stories of priests, sisters and brothers through panel discussions and interactive games, learning that the men and women before them were just ordinary people who had answered an extraordinary calling. 

The day also included Mass and an address from Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who told the 11-year-olds that they are not too young to be thinking about what God is calling them to be.
“Even now God is whispering into your heart that he loves you, to tell you your gifts and to tell you what his plan for you is,” Archbishop Aymond said. “We need you as the young church to know Jesus, to live your faith and to make a difference in the world right now, not just in the future.”

Calling All Fifth Graders is coordinated by the archdiocesan offices of Vocation, Religious, Catholic Schools and the vocation directors of local religious communities.Beth Donze can be reached at bdonze@clarionherald.org.

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