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Bishop John Barres joined the youth and young adults of the diocese for the monthly Holy Hour for Vocations held at Chaminade High School in Mineola last Friday, April 7th.

Nearly 500 high-school- and college-age men and women of the diocese packed Chaminade’s Darby Auditorium to hear the bishop reflect on the importance of living a life of faith, the challenges that come along with it, and the role of young people in the contemporary Church. The evening included Eucharistic Adoration, prayer, music, refreshments and dodgeball.

“You can make a difference,” Bishop Barres said to those assembled. “It is in your beautiful experience with your friends, your compassion for them, that you can with the greatest gentleness invite them back to Mass and tell them what the Body and Blood of Christ mean to you. The Lord is calling you in little ways and in big ways. The deeper you open your heart, the deeper you open your life.”

“Life moves very quickly,” he continued. “Let’s invest our lives well. Let’s open our souls to the Holy Spirit and to the power of the Mass. Allow the Holy Spirit to show our true path to eternal life.”

Bishop Barres arrived early to meet and greet people before the Holy Hour. Many seminarians were present and at least four religious orders of sisters (Sisters of Life, Benedictines, Little Sisters of the Poor and Sisters of St Joseph) were represented, as well as Marianist and Franciscan brothers. At least 15 diocesan priests were available to hear confessions during the evening.

“Consecrated religious form the foundation of our Church,” said Nicholas Richardson, of Dix Hills, a Chaminade junior. “It was overwhelming to see so many people, on a Friday night, joining together to pray for vocations. It’s also clear that the bishop is dedicated to taking the time to meet the young people of our diocese, and that we are an important part of its mission.”

“The bishop is an enthusiastic – I would dare say, unwavering – supporter of Catholic youth ministry and vocation outreach,” said Brother Stephen Balletta, director of the Marianist community and vocations director at Chaminade. “Several young men are giving serious and prayerful consideration to a vocation in the Society of Mary and our diocese, and each of these manifestations of God’s grace stems from our faith community’s untiring efforts to create an atmosphere that draws young people closer to the heart of Christ and His Blessed Mother.”

The Chaminade Glee Club and Bishop Kellenberg’s XLT Choir provided musical accompaniment during the Holy Hour. After the Holy Hour, Bishop Barres greeted everyone in the cafeteria where refreshments were served, then went to the gym where dodgeball was being played.

Photos by Ed Casey