|Challenge Club, a local Catholic group for girls, hiked and prayed for vocations March 27 at South Mountain. (Photos courtesy of Ambria Hammel.)|
April 22, 2010. Phoenix, AZ. This past April 20, The Catholic Sun (the Phoenix diocesan newspaper) published an article
about a local Challenge girls club’s Hike for Vocations,
which raised $1,200 to support tuition for the Institute for
Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Nebraska. The full article
can be read online or below.
Reprinted with permission.
more priests, Catholic girls hike for vocations
By Ambria Hammel |
April 20, 2010 | The Catholic Sun
A group of
40 young hikers climbed South Mountain, offering a Hail Mary
and a litany for each of the Phoenix Diocese’s 23
seminarians along the way.
Before their hour-long ascent up the Javelina
Canyon Trail March 27, the members of Challenge Club —
a local Catholic group of girls ages 10 and up
— had to find the seminarians.
A few lay consecrated members
of Regnum Christi, who coordinated Challenge’s first Hike for Vocations,
hid photocopied headshots of each seminarian under rocks along the
trail. The girls had to match the recovered photo with
their “Wanted: seminarians” poster.
The girls hiked in three groups based
on their grade in school. They fretted over “lost” seminarians
and rejoiced each time they found one.
“It was like losing
one of your best friends,” 10-year-old Grace Zwemke said each
time her group struggled to find their seminarian. As soon
as someone found him, Zwemke said, “It was like gaining
another friend in a holy and spiritual way.”
Fr. Paul Sullivan,
diocesan director of vocations, loved the idea of the hike
and hopes to join the girls next year.
“As the seminarians
will attest, it is a great blessing to be prayed
for during formation, which is certainly a time of grace,
but also a time of challenges and growth,” Fr. Sullivan
said. “This is where that prayer comes in.”
The vocations hike
was also about affirming the priests and women religious in
their own lives. The girls individually collected signatures from these
holy men and women — including Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted
— in the weeks leading up to the hike.
in our school are great and I just wanted to
do it for them and the sisters,” said 10-year-old Anna
Hesslin, a St. Daniel the Prophet parishioner.
“As we went up
probably the steepest part of the trail, one of the
girls started to say, ‘Whew, are we almost there? This
is tough,’” Stephanie Kielhorn, a young consecrated woman of Regnum
Christi recalled. The two quickly recalled the value of sacrifice
and continued climbing with enthusiasm.
“The girls didn’t want to give
up; they felt responsible for praying for all the priests
and religious they had asked to sign their vocation card,”
After 10-year-old Lauren Tewes, a St. Timothy parishioner, had
reached the bottom, she started climbing again to escort a
friend’s mom down the final stretch (parents, siblings and pets
also made the climb). She compared her struggles on the
ascent to those seminarians might face during formation.
“You always want
to stop, but you get to the top and it’s
|Challenge Club, a local Catholic group for girls, raised $1,200 for a summer seminarian course when they hiked at South Mountain March 27.|
worth it,” Tewes said.
The Hike for Vocations also supported seminarians
financially. The girls raised $1,200 in sponsorships to make the
climb. The hikers called Fr. Sullivan, the diocesan director of
vocations, from the third and final peak to share the
good news. The priest had just celebrated a Mass with
160 moms and daughters.
“It was a great experience of the
family we have in the Mystical Body of Christ,” Kielhorn
Group members presented the check to Fr. Sullivan and
the bishop March 29 after the Chrism Mass at Ss.
Simon and Jude Cathedral.
Funds will support tuition for the Institute
for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Nebraska. Three diocesan
seminarians are expected to join a few hundred from around
the United States this summer for a chance to deepen
their prayer life in union with Christ.