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Archdiocese to hold vocation discernment retreats

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BRAINTREE -- The archdiocese's Office of Vocations is organizing three retreats in February for men and women interested in learning about religious vocations.

The retreat attendees were recommended by leaders of their faith communities -- pastors, chaplains, or campus ministers -- and received invitations from either Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley (for men discerning the priesthood) or the archdiocese's Delegate for Religious Sister Germana Santos, FSP (for women discerning religious life).

There will be two Men's Vocation Discernment Weekends during the weekend of Feb. 21-23: one for men ages 18-30 at St. John's Seminary, and another for those over 30 at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary. Both of the men's retreats will include Mass, times of prayer, witness talks from seminarians, conversations with seminarians, and opportunities to speak to priests about one's vocation.

The Women's Vocation Discernment Day for women ages 18-35 will take place on Feb. 22 at St. Paul Parish in Harvard Square. This daylong retreat will include Mass, times of prayer, witness talks, and conversations with religious sisters from various orders. There will also be presentations on discernment and different aspects of consecrated life.

While the men's vocation weekends are focused on the diocesan priesthood, the women's vocation discernment day is not affiliated with any particular religious order.

"It's an opportunity to let young women know what the religious life consists of and raise questions and help them think about where God may be calling them," Sister Germana said, speaking to The Pilot on Feb. 10.

Although the people attending these retreats received personal invitations, the Office of Vocations also sponsors events for young men and women who want to learn about the priesthood or religious life.

Throughout each year, the office holds St. Andrew Dinners, which give boys in high school an opportunity to talk with priests and learn about the vocation to the priesthood. In 2018, the office began organizing a similar event for high school girls called the Sts. Martha and Mary Dinner, an evening for high school girls to meet religious sisters and learn about religious life.

The next Sts. Martha and Mary Dinner will be held on March 3 at St. Mary Parish in Dedham. Those interested in attending can contact Sister Germana Santos, delegate for religious, at gsantos@rcab.org. The last St. Andrew Dinner of the year will be held March 31 at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood. Information about the dinner is available at the Vocations Office website: VocationsBoston.org.

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