Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Picnic With The Bishop Mixes Good Food And Fun With A Look At Vocations

By Kate Bittner The Message Intern
Lillia Dalquist and Sister Michelle Sinkhorn listen intently as Sister Theresa Sullivan tells about the different charisms of the religious life.

            United by the Eucharist as the one body of Christ, the 2014 Picnic with the Bishop, organized by the diocesan office of vocations, began in the best way possible – with the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. Bishop Charles C. Thompson, nine priests of the Diocese of Evansville and two deacons celebrated Mass, and it was a beautiful experience for the faithful in attendance.

            Many religious sisters from different orders also joined in the celebration, which was hosted June 5 by St. John Parish, Daylight, and their silent presence spoke to those present and gave witness for a sacrifice much greater than words.

            After Mass, the young men and women who attended were divided by gender and went to different discussion groups lead by priests for the men and nuns for the ladies. Those in the circle were asked the reason why they attended, and many admitted that their youth group had encouraged them to go. Others said they came last year and enjoyed it so much that they decided to come again.

            In each group, there was a heartfelt testimony given by someone with the religious life vocation and someone who had been called to the married life. They spoke about how they answered the call to a difficult and uncomfortable life, and yet one that lead to the deepest happiness and peace that they had ever known. Those in attendance had time to ask questions and learn more about the different vocations open to them. The discussion lasted about an hour, and was followed by a delicious meal with the bishop.

            After satisfying their hunger, those in attendance went outside and played games – volleyball, badminton, washers, ladder golf and cornhole. The priests and sisters joined in all the games and proved to the youth that the religious can still have fun, too.

            Sister Michelle Sinkhorn, the vocation director for the Benedictine sisters of Ferdinand and a member of the diocesan Vocations team, commented, “I have always enjoyed this diocesan vocation event because it is an opportunity for young people to not only pray with the priests and religious of the diocese, but also a chance to see our fun and sometimes competitive side during the games.”           

            For those searching for their calling in life, it was a touching night for openness about vocations and how to live and follow Christ. Father Christopher Droste, associate pastor of Christ the King and Holy Spirit parishes in Evansville, also reflected that although attendance was down a bit when compared to previous years, those who made it to the picnic were very interested in learning more about the religious life and serving Christ.

            It was a wonderful evening and an important one for the youth to be able to speak their minds and learn more about the vocations of the Church. They came to know that priests and religious are people to,o and that night helped to erase some of their fear of being open to the call of religious life and whatever God has in store for their lives.