Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Upcoming Retreat To Focus On God’s Call, Vocation

By ERIKA ANDERSON, Special To The Bulletin | Published December 6, 2012

Bookmark and Share

Some men are called to be married. Some are called to be single. Still others are called to be priests. Discerning God’s call for one’s life is an important step in a young man’s faith. The archdiocesan Office for Vocations is offering a Men’s Discernment Retreat geared toward helping attendees pursue their true vocation.

The retreat, which will be Dec. 28 and 29 at Ignatius House, is open to single men ages 18 to 40. The retreat will feature talks by priests and seminarians, time for prayer and reflection and a closing Mass celebrated by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.

Michael Ferrin, associate director of vocations, said the retreat allows men the opportunity to get away from their normal routines and seek answers to their deepest questions.


Men’s Discernment Retreat

Sponsored by Atlanta Archdiocesan Office For Vocations

Begins 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 28, and concludes by lunch on Saturday, Dec. 29

The Ignatius Retreat Center
6700 Riverside Drive, NW,
Atlanta, GA 30328

Free and open to single men ages 18-40

For details and to register:

“This retreat is a special opportunity to devote some time specifically to pray about what God is calling you to in your life,” Ferrin said. “This retreat is specifically designed to equip the attendees with knowledge about how to discern well and ultimately say yes to what the Lord wants.”

Though many past discernment retreat participants have entered the seminary, other attendees, like 21-year-old Andrew Gowasack from St. Pius X Church in Conyers, have learned through the experience that God was calling them to another vocation.

“At the retreat, I realized that the priestly vocation was not what he wanted for me at the time. God had allowed me to encounter a great young woman, and he wanted me to learn from her and see him in her,” Gowasack said. “This was made very apparent by the testimonies of the priests and seminarians who had ignored what was right in front of them at first, then realized what God had given them.”

He added, “I would encourage young men to attend this retreat because it is a rare opportunity to hear firsthand accounts of what these seminarians go through, and to see what the priestly vocation is really about.”

Carlos Gustavo Ortegavalera, 33, a seminarian at Mundelein Seminary, in Illinois, admits he was initially nervous to attend the retreat. But once there, he saw his own story reflected in many of the seminarians he met.

“I would encourage others to go and see. I was very apprehensive, but it was a pleasant experience. It does not hurt just to go and listen, and the retreat goes by really fast,” he said. “In general, this first retreat helped me to realize what seminary was about and help me overcome some of the fears I had about changing my career and pursuing what I felt called to be.”

Juan Pacheco also discerned that God was calling him to the priesthood. The 20-year-old is currently studying at St. Joseph Abbey Seminary College in Louisiana.

“On the discernment retreat I was not only able to discern God’s call in a weekend devoted to prayer, but I also had the time to discern alongside other men,” he said. “This was great because it allowed me to share my thoughts with them and receive insights from others that helped me in further discernment. Also, the retreat gave me the possibility to interact with current seminarians which made me realize that they are just normal guys who want to live their lives for Christ.”

Lay people are encouraged to pray for men attending the retreat and for vocations in general, Ferrin said.

“The men who attend this retreat and all young people who are seeking the Lord’s direction in their lives need our prayers and support,” he said. “We as laity should always include those discerning vocations in our prayers. Consider offering a rosary or spending time before the Blessed Sacrament for the young men on this retreat.”

The retreat is free, but those wishing to attend should reserve a space. Visit or contact Ferrin at or (404) 920-7460 for more information or to register.