Jan Janoszka, Fr. Jim Loughran, SA, Alfonso DeRuvo, Br. Paolo Nicosia, SA, and George Nemanich at Sant’Onofrio Church in Rome. Jan and Alfonso are postulants with the Friars in Italy. George is a participant in the Friars’ Franciscan At-One-Ment Mission Project and took the Friars’ Rome summer course on ecumenical and interreligious dialogue from a Catholic perspective.

There is great excitement over the Friars recently establishing San Damiano Farm, which gives the opportunity for men suffering from substance abuse to literally plant seeds and witness the fruits (and vegetables!) of their labor.

There is also another kind of seed planting happening on the Holy Mountain. The Friars are planting seeds to grow vocations to the Church and the world!  

One such beneficiary of this seed planting is 18-year-old Jack Manning who participated in the Friars’ House of Discernment for religious life last fall.  Jack reflected:

“I came to this discernment program fresh out of high school, and to be completely honest, I knew almost nothing—nothing of what God was calling me to do, nothing about who I truly was. In three short months, I learned more about myself than I had in my previous 18 years.  I learned that God is calling me to always serve him, no matter what path I go down… The biggest lesson I learned was not to push God for answers, but to listen for them; if you are constantly asking, you are never listening.”

The Friars are committed to helping young people like Jack discover their purpose and vocation, whether that leads to marriage, single life, or a vocation as a Friar or Sister of the Atonement. Minister General Reverend Brian Terry, SA, calls this commitment to accompanying youth—particularly on their discernment journeys—the “preferential option for youth.” This phrase highlights that young people are not periphery to the mission of the Church, but must be at the very center of evangelizing efforts to grow disciples!  

Fr. Brian further explained the preferential option for youth: “Young people are not only ‘the future.’  They are also the Church of today. They are gifted, talented and eager to serve the Lord. The Friars of the Atonement want to play a strong role in channeling the vast energies of young people in service of the People of God. Our goal is to meet young people where they are at by offering many different types of discernment opportunities that best fit their situations.”

These opportunities offered by the Friars include Young Adult Weekend Retreats for women and men, Come & Discern Vocation Retreats, the Franciscan At-One-Ment Mission Project (our summer internship program for young men exploring religious life) and our House of Discernment in Manhattan for young men seriously discerning the Friars of the Atonement.

To learn more about these opportunities as well as our online discernment tool, please go to www.atonementfriars.org/discern-your-vocation. We invite you to join the Friars in planting seeds by sharing these discernment opportunities with young adults you know!