Personal Vocation Month Kicks Off with Panel on Discernment

By Peyton Voorheis
Staff Writer

In honor of Franciscan University’s second annual Personal Vocation month, individuals of different vocations participated in a panel discussing discernment and their state in life on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Gentile Gallery.

The Rev. Rufino Corona, TOR, hosted the panel, opening it with Saint John Paul II’s “Prayer to Know God’s Will.” The prayer was followed by a talk by Sister Mary Bosco Davis, FSPA, on the role of prayer in discernment.

Davis stated that prayer is a gift given to us by God out of His love for us. Davis also assured the audience that prayer should alleviate anxieties surrounding discernment.

“The great thing about prayer is no one’s really bad at it. The only way you can be bad at it is to not do it … you must show up to receive the gift,” Davis said.

Cindy Costello spoke next on the vocation of marriage and how discernment is not always an individual process, but a journey that couples should embark on together. She shared stories from discerning her own marriage with her husband of 38 years.

Anna Thompson of the Apostate for Family Consecration spoke on lay and consecrated life and on the process of discernment. Thompson, who took private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, stated that vocational discernment, even when challenging, leads to greater fulfillment in one’s relationship with God.

“He works with you, and your temperament, and your personality,” said Thompson.

The Rev. Jonathan McElhone, TOR, director of Franciscan’s Priestly Discernment Program, then spoke on the priesthood. McElhone reminded the audience that all the faithful are called to a form of priesthood through the sacrament of baptism.

“There’s not been two days that were identical in those ten years [of his priesthood],” McElhone said, summarizing the joys and challenges of his vocation.

Corona discussed the consecrated religious life and its interaction with the priesthood, while remaining distinct. He shared his own story of discernment, and how he came to realize the beauty of religious life independent from the priesthood.

“The vocation of a religious is not just about the priesthood, it’s not just about the ministry, it’s about the consecration,” Corona said.

The night ended with audience questions for the panel, including questions on the culture at Franciscan University surrounding discernment and how to handle pressure from various sources.