Mendota students go on a vocations adventure
Catholic students who took part in “Catholics at the Capitol” last Wednesday in Springfield had the chance to stand for their faith and their church in the halls of our state government.
But for 27 junior high students from Holy Cross School in Mendota, the day was also a “vocations adventure” that culminated in a chance to meet and hear a message from Mr. Chase Hilgenbrinck, a retired professional soccer player now studying as a seminarian for the Diocese of Peoria.
“You all may not know it, but you guys have a pretty smart principal,” Father Brian Brownsey, diocesan director of vocations, told the Mendota students. “She found a way to turn an afternoon bus trip through the frozen corn fields of Illinois into a vocations adventure.”
Mrs. Anita Kobilsek, principal of Holy Cross School, took advantage of the special trip in Springfield to get her students thinking about their own vocations.
Through the graces of baptism, every Catholic has a vocation to bring the voice of faith into government issues, according to Mrs. Kobilsek.
During the bus trip, Mrs. Kobilsek and her husband spoke about their own vocation of marriage. Father Fredi Gomez Torres, administrator of Holy Cross Parish, and Father Gary Blake, parochial vicar, also talked about their vocations to the priesthood.
Before leaving Springfield, the students visited with the Dominican Sisters whose motherhouse is located there.
Mrs. Kobilsek also made sure the return trip to Mendota included a late afternoon stop at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria, so the young people could meet Mr. Hilgenbrinck and hear his story of how he began to realize during his soccer career that God wanted him to be a priest.
Before his talk, Mr. Hilgenbrinck met the Mendota students and signed autographs in the diocesan museum on the first floor of the Spalding Pastoral Center.
There the students also met the members of the Franciscan Sisters of John the Baptist who staff the museum, as well as members of The Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis, who own and operate the OSF Healthcare System. Sister Agnes Joseph Williams, OSF, director of vocations for her religious community, shared the story of her vocation after Mr. Hilgenbrinck’s talk.