Grade School Activities
Too young to hear God's call to be a priest or religious? No way!! Over one-half of the priests heard the call to priesthood when in grade school. The age of 11 seems to be a favorite time for Jesus to first plant the idea of priesthood or religious life in a young person's heart. Sometimes others will bring the idea up to you.
If you have thought about priesthood or religious life, take it seriously. You are not too young to begin thinking about your future. Read on.
Everyone is called by name to have a mission in life. Everyone is called to be a disciple of Jesus, to be a good person, to be holy. In addition, each person is called to a more specific task in life, some to marriage and family, some to priesthood and religious life, and some to the single life.
What's happening in Grade School?
Prince Gallitzin Vocation Club:
Every grade school student in the diocese is encouraged to actively participate in the Prince Gallitzin Vocation Club. Belonging is simple: all one needs to do is pray. Father Gallitzin is our own model of what it means to be a great priest. Take a moment to read his story:
Father Demetrius Gallitzin, the pioneer of our Catholic Faith in Central Pennsylvania, was born a Russian prince in 1770. He left his claim to royalty and came to America in 1792 to become a priest. He was ordained in Baltimore in 1795 by Bishop John Carroll, the first Catholic Bishop of the United States. It was a sick call which brought him to the mountains of central Pennsylvania, to McGuire's Settlement (whose name he later changed to Loretto.) It was here, on Christmas eve in 1799, that Mass was celebrated for the first time in the newly erected church of St. Michael. He spent the remainder of his priestly life ministering to God's people in what is now the diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. He died in 1840, and his statue and tomb are located in Loretto. We honor Father Demetrius and admire his missionary spirit. May God bless our diocese with more young men who have the desire to serve God as generously and courageously as our own Prince Gallitzin.
Come and See Day:
Every spring there is a special vocation day for students grades 6 to 8 at the Prince Gallitzin Chapel House. Priests and seminarians are on hand to enjoy a fun day together that includes sports, prayer, great food and interesting conversation on what it takes to be a priest!
Sponsored by the Diocesan Youth Office each August, this summer youth camp offers a great week of swimming, fishing, hiking and a zillion fun games! We play and we pray. There is Mass each day, we have daily Bible Study, cabin rosary, and each day ends with a great bonfire. Father Byrnes is camp chaplain, and there is a committed team of college students and adults who are on hand to make certain that the excitement never stops!