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Shooting hoops for vocations

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

ST. FRANCIS DE SALES DEANERY — The gym at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Anderson Township was bursting with excitement on Dec. 11 as the basketball team from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary took to the floor for a game against IHM’s eighth-graders.

IHM students try to block a shot by seminarian Christopher Geiger. Also pictured as referee is Rev. Mr. Kevin Kahmann, a transitional deacon. (CT/E.L. Hubbard)

The seminary team, known as the Minor Prophets, defeated the students by a score of 51-34, but it didn’t dispel the students’ enthusiasm, according to Nancy Goebel, assistant principal at IHM.

Father Robert Hadden, who was ordained in 2008 and serves as parochial vicar at IHM, came up with the idea, Goebel said. “The seminary was looking for teams to play and it was really a way for us to focus on vocations,” she explained.

IHM already passes the Elijah Cup, a consecrated chalice, from classroom to classroom on a weekly basis for students to pray for vocations, Goebel said. Each class also “adopts” a religious Sister, brother or deacon, prays for them and hears a presentation on how that individual received his or call.

During the basketball game, IHM students took on the roles of announcers and play-by-play commentators, while Father Hadden served as a referee. At halftime, Father Kyle Schnippel, director of the archdiocesan Vocation Office, gave a talk to students about listening to God for direction in their lives. He also emphasized that everyone has a vision and noted that all need to be open to the call from God.

Goebel said the game was a valuable opportunity for the students to “see the seminarians as normal guys playing a sport. It’s good for the students to see that our future priests aren’t that different from them and gives them something to aspire to,” she said.

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