MOSAIC Fall 2015 - Page 21

“Am I Really Being Called?” Pilgrims find vocational inspiration during thirty-day Desert Formation Experience. E ach spring, seminarians finishing their first year of graduate theology make a four-week spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land and the holy sites of Europe. This “Desert Formation Experience” (DFE for short) is a matchless opportunity for seminarians to discern more deeply their calling to the priesthood. The faith-building experience is unique to Sacred Heart among U.S. seminaries. The DFE is another way the seminary is training “domestic missionaries” for a spirituallyneedy culture. On April 29, eleven seminarians departed Detroit to begin their pilgrimage of formation along with Sacred Heart priests Fr. Gerard Battersby and Msgr. Daniel Trapp. The seminarians visited the holiest of Christian holy sites: among them, the site of Jesus’ tomb and crucifixion; Bethlehem, the Shepherds Field, and the Grotto of the Nativity; the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives; and the Last Supper The Desert Formation Experience to the Holy Land is as time of brotherly bonding as well as spiritual reflection on the Christian mysteries. Room. They ended their journey by visiting the sacred sites of Rome and attending a Wednesday audience with the Holy Father. Each day, the pilgrims celebrated Mass and prayed for the Desert Formation Experience benefactors. Each evening, Monsignor Trapp and Father Battersby guided the men in spiritual reflection centered on their experience at the holy site that day. During the weeks of “walking in the footsteps of Jesus,” the DFE seminarians looked inside and asked, “Am I really being called to choose a life of charity? Am I really being called to be a ‘man for others’”? Nick Manica is a 2015 DFE pilgrim. Dur- ing the dinner at September’s Desert Classic Golf Outing (which helps to fund the pilgrimage), Nick shared insights about his journey with the golfers. He spoke about the spiritual intensity of spending the night in prayer in the Holy Sepulcher, the tomb in which Jesus rose, which is close by the hill of the crucifixion. Nick called this a “moving and amazing experience,” but even more moving was attending Mass in the sepulcher in the morning. “At the words of consecration, I became powerfully aware of the Lord’s presence on the altar. It simply enveloped me,” Nick described to the Desert Classic benefactors. “After consuming the Eucharist at Mass, I meditated that this wonderful gift of Jesus’ body and blood in the Eucharist was being given to me just paces from where Christ sacrificed himself for all on the cross. “In my prayer, I frequently go back to that moment in Jerusalem where the Lord showed me how much he desires to love me and be with me.” After a short break to visit family and take care of personal business, the eleven DFE pilgrims embarked on spiritual excursion of a different kind—a thirty-day Ignatian silent retreat to the Broom Tree Retreat Center in South Dakota. Summer time is no time for slacking for Sacred Heart seminarians. Three Ways to Help Could you help your seminarians to fund this pilgrimage of faith? • Organize a team of golfers for the next Desert Classic Golf Outing (September 12, 2016). • Host a Desert Meals fundraiser at your home. • Make a donation at Call Sacred Heart’s Office of Development to inquire, 313-883-8508. 19