‘Come and See’
Seminary to host weekend discernment retreat

By Reagan Scott
for the Register 

Event aims to help young men feel comfortable with discerning their vocations by giving them a low-pressure environment in which they can meet seminarians, hear their stories and ask questions.

Young men from the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln and beyond are invited to participate in a “Come and See” weekend hosted by St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward March 8-10.

Open to college students and high school juniors and seniors, the weekend is “a nice opportunity for young men to see what it’s like to be at the seminary, and to be a seminarian,” said Father Brian Kane, rector of the seminary.

The weekend, which begins in the evening Friday, March 8, will include a presentation on discernment and testimonies from current seminarians. Attendees will receive a tour of the building and learn what a day in the life of a seminarian entails. There will also be a question-and-answer session and small-group discussion with the seminarians.

The young men in attendance will have the opportunity to spend time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament overnight if they so desire, with time slots available from Saturday evening through Sunday morning. The weekend will conclude with Mass.

Recreation during the spring 2023 “Come and See” weekend. Courtesy photo
Recreation during the spring 2023 “Come and See” weekend. Courtesy photo

Father Kane said the goal of the “Come and See” weekend is to help the young men in attendance feel comfortable with discerning their vocations by giving them a low-pressure environment in which they can meet and be with the seminarians at St. Gregory the Great, hear their stories and ask them questions.

“We want them to see that this is a real possibility for a young, Catholic man,” Father Kane said. “It’s an opportunity to see what a great community, life and culture we have here.”

Father Kane said the weekend also gives seminarians the opportunity to correct misperceptions that attendees might have about the seminary, or simply share things about the seminary experience that they might not have known before.

“There can be a fear,” he said, “that the seminary is boring, or they’ll be lonely. The guys here are just like any other college students – they play sports, spend time together and study. They just do that in a place where they’re also growing closer to Jesus.”

St. Gregory the Great has hosted “Come and See” weekends each spring for more than 15 years. Father Kane said more than 50 young men attended last spring, and the seminary also held a fall “Come and See” weekend for the first time.

The weekend will also be attended by vocation directors from the seminary’s seven partner dioceses – those which currently have seminarians studying at St. Gregory the Great. These dioceses include the Archdiocese of Denver, the Diocese of Colorado Springs and the Diocese of Pueblo in Colorado, the Diocese of Fargo in North Dakota, the Diocese of Santa Rosa in California, the Diocese of Rapid City in South Dakota and the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph in Missouri.

Young men from all seven dioceses will be in attendance during the weekend, as well as those from across Nebraska.

Father Kane said the vocation directors will be there first to support and be available for the young men they’ve brought to Seward, but also to visit the seminarians from their dioceses studying at St. Gregory the Great, and be present to visit with anyone who’d like to speak with them during the weekend.

The goal of the “Come and See” weekend isn’t to ensure that everyone comes away with a vocation to the priesthood, but it does offer attendees the chance to be with other men who are discerning, and the opportunity to grow in their faith and come to know Jesus better so they can hear his voice.

Interested individuals are encouraged to register by Tuesday, March 5. The cost to register is $10 and can be done online at www.sggs.edu/events.