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11-year-olds and 11th-graders focus on vocations

Last week, nearly 1,000 sixth-graders from Archdiocese of Denver Catholic elementary schools and 145 young women, juniors from Bishop Machebeuf and Holy Family High Schools, had an opportunity to learn about religious vocations at Focus 11 gatherings at Holy Trinity Parish and School in Westminster.

“FOCUS 11 is an opportunity for 11-year-olds and 11th-graders to learn of the beauty of vocations to holy orders and consecrated life,” explained Father Jim Crisman, director of priestly vocations for the Archdiocese of Denver, by meeting men and women living those vocations.

“Through baptism, confirmation and holy Eucharist, Jesus calls each of us into a new relationship with himself in the Church,” Father Crisman said. “In the particular vocations of holy orders and consecrated life, Jesus strengthens this relationship and commissions us to go into the world to proclaim the good news of his passion, death, resurrection and ascension.

“Focus 11 is a program that allows us to share the joy of our vocations to those most open to the message,” he added.

Many priests, religious and consecrated men and women first heard their call when they were 11 years old, or in 11th grade, according to Father Crisman.

“The Focus 11 program, responding to this, was established that we might evangelize our young people,” he said. “It is a high energy event filled with joy and enthusiasm. What a blessing it is for all involved.”

Each day’s session—Oct. 6, 7 and 8—began with praise and worship music provided by Phil Perez, followed by Mass and a chance to talk with religious men and women representing 13 religious communities including Benedictines, Carmelites, Christian Brothers, Jesuits, Community of the Beatitudes, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Mich., among others.

Area Serra Club members provided refreshments for the students, while associate superintendent of Catholic Schools’ Sister Elizabeth Youngs, S.C.L, and Knights of Columbus were on hand to help with logistics.

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