Vocations promoted at annual Vianney Cookout

WESTON -- The archdiocese's priests and seminarians -- from the newly ordained transitional deacons to retired Regina Cleri residents -- had the chance to pray together and catch up with each other over a shared meal at the annual St. John Vianney Cookout that took place on Aug. 10 at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary.

The cookout usually takes place on or around the feast of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests, on Aug. 4. But this year, it fell on the feast of St. Lawrence on Aug. 10.

Father Brian Kiely, the rector of the seminary, welcomed the clergy in the chapel, where they prayed vespers. After the service, they had their dinner together in the refectory.

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley addressed the clergy before the meal. He expressed his gratitude for the archdiocese's Vocations Office and for Pope St. John Seminary, which trains men between the ages of 30 and 60 for the priesthood.

He also acknowledged the difficulty of reaching older men who might have a vocation to the priesthood.

"For the younger demographic, it's easier; you have the university setting, and the youth clubs, and schools, and different things like that. But for the men to come to Pope John, we really rely on pastors to be able to say, 'There's someone in my parish who could possibly be a candidate for this seminary,'" the cardinal said.

He issued a challenge to all the parish priests, asking that over the next six months, they each look for one person to recommend to the Vocation Office.

"That would be a great service to the Church," Cardinal O'Malley said.

The cookout also happened to fall on the birthday of Father Stephen Linehan, the dean of seminarians and director of pastoral formation at Pope St. John. The priests also used the occasion to acknowledge the 38th anniversary of Cardinal O'Malley's ordination to the episcopacy on Aug 2. For dessert, there were two cakes with pictures of Father Linehan and Cardinal O'Malley on them.

Speaking to The Pilot afterward, Father Ron Coyne said he appreciated the Vianney cookout, which he described as "life-giving." He comes every year that it takes place, the exception being 2020, when the cookout was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's great to see all the people, plus you meet the younger guys, who I wouldn't know otherwise, which is good, and we're happy for them, and hopefully they're as happy to meet us as we are them," he said.