Annual Vocations Fair calls children to be saints

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Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted greets a young girl dressed as St. Faustina Kowalska, the “Apostle of Mercy,” at the annual Vocations Fair Oct. 28 at Most Holy Trinity Parish. The fair brings faithful of all ages, some dressed as saints, and includes lively interaction with sisters, priests and brothers. (Justin Bell/CATHOLIC SUN)

Dressed as saints, children from throughout the diocese were reminded of their call to holiness during a special Mass and Vocations Fair at Most Holy Trinity Parish Oct. 28.

“Our young people are dressed in a way that reminds us that we’re all called to holiness,” remarked Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in his homily.

The bishop also spoke about perseverance in prayer, relating to the former blind man, Bartimaeus, who kept calling out to Jesus despite people trying to silence him.

Sr. Anthony Mary Diago, RSM, director of the diocesan Office of Consecrated Life, speaks with a young girl dressed as St. Gianna Molla, the young mother and doctor who died from complications related to childbirth after she refused to have an abortion. (Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

“Sometimes it seems that God is not hearing us, that He doesn’t hear well, but Jesus says in another part of the Gospel: It’s necessary to pray always, to never lose heart,” he said.

The bishop then furthered his point, showing a necessary component of becoming a saint.

“This is true for every saint, to be a saint you have to be in communication with Jesus, with God the Father — you have to have a life of prayer.”

Sr. Mary Bui Tuoi from the Lovers of the Holy Cross said the charism of her order is to focus on Christ crucified. Her order started in 1852 in Vietnam and she is one of four sisters serving at St. Louis the King Parish in Glendale. The sisters help support the parish and school.

Sr. Cabrini Thomas, who is part of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and director of the Maryvale school named after the saint, called the vocations fair wonderful and remarked that she was “very glad to be a part of it.”

“It’s a family event, so it’s not just for young people that might think about a vocation, but also for parents who want to instill a vocation with their children,” she said.

Janice Pascual is a postulant for the Daughters and said she enjoyed the opportunity for kids and teenagers “to really see what religious life is all about.”

EN ESPAÑOL: Honran a santos con vestuario en Feria de Vocaciones

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted greets members of the Lovers of the Holy Cross from Vietnam at the Vocations Fair Oct. 23 at Most Holy Trinity Parish. (Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Echoing these statements, Kelly Zuk brought her daughters Zoe, 10, and Lainey, 8, to the vocations fair. All three Zuks were dressed as the relatively recent Italian saint, St. Gianna Molla, a physician who, at risk to her own health refused, a procedure that would have resulted in the abortion of her sixth child. She later died after her daughter was born.

Kelly Zuk expressed her family’s desire for the girls to find their mission in life.

“I want them to be open to everything, so they can hear God’s call,” Zuk said. “Stay close to Him and then let’s introduce everything,” she continued.

Sr. Stephanie Collins has been a sister for 10 years with the Servants of the Plan of God and is originally from Peru. She now serves at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Tempe with her counterparts enriching parish life. She said her community focuses on serving vulnerable populations such as people in the streets, migrants and elderly people who are alone.

Fr. Dale Craig, SOLT, pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish, speaks with young men dressed as the Old Testament prophets during the Vocations Fair Oct. 23 at his parish. (Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

This charism resonated with Anna Carochi, who is a candidate with the Servants, originally from Colorado.

“I love that it’s a spirituality and a charism that fits the needs of our world today,” said Carochi.

Sr. Anthony Mary Diago, RSM, the director of the diocese’s Office of Consecrated Life, organized and ran the event and estimated between 300-500 people attended, and said it was great to have all the families there.

Calling the vocations fair, “beautiful,” Sr. Anthony Mary noticed the responsiveness and eagerness of the children to dress up as saints.

She was “excited about what the Lord is asking of them to live a life of holiness, to learn from other religious, to have contact with religious and experience the beauty of the Church as a family.”