September Meeting Summary: Peer Panel
For our September Supper & Speaker event, we heard from 3 fellow SMYPP members: Katherine Deegan, John Mullan, and Chris Hartung. Each one shared how God’s love has been a powerful influence on their lives.
Katherine: “Have you ever talked to God?”
For Katherine, the voice of God has always come as a “nudge” in the right direction. Four months ago, Katherine managed to get an interview for her dream job. Unfortunately, at that time, she was feeling very sick. Not knowing where to turn, she sent an email to her peers at SMYPP, asking for very specific prayers. That night, at 3 a.m., when she reached for her Bible, the chaplet of Divine Mercy fell from the pages—a hint that promptly took. With her anxieties eased, Katherine aced her interview as was promptly offered the job.
Her “dream job” however, turned out to be “the job from Hell.” Despite her disappointment, Katherine did not lose her trust in God’s will. “God wanted to teach me, and I needed to listen.” Once again, she felt a “nudge” to pick up her Bible and came across the passage in Numbers 9:15, with Moses and the cloud over the tabernacle. She knew it was a sign to trust in God’s presence and guidance.
In the end, Katherine finally arrived at her true calling: a position at DuPont. With the experience that she gained from her previous job, Katherine was able to approach her new role with confidence. “Have you ever talked to God?” Katherine asked us. “Acknowledge your weaknesses and ask him for what you need. God gave us free will. We have to ask to continually be drawn closer in our personal relationships with him. ”
John: “God calls us all to certain vocations”
Growing up in a family of 10 children, John has seen multiple examples of how God leads people to their chosen paths. His parents, although devout, never “forced” religion on their children. Rather, John and his siblings decided on their own to follow the path of Christianity based on the love that their parents showed them as well as the happiness that they seemed to gain from their relationship with God.
In order to better understand his calling in life, John decided to enroll in a seminary. There, he felt that he was able to eliminate outside distractions and concentrate solely on God’s message to him. In the end, John realized that he was not being called to be a priest but, rather, a computer engineer. Although he chose a different vocation, he believes that his time in the seminary was truly valuable. “God calls us all to certain vocations,” John explained. “we must take the time to listen and follow what He wants.”
Chris: “He wants me to walk in His own time”
Although Chris was raised in a Catholic family, he never felt a true connection to his faith until his senior year in high school when he joined Young Life, a nondenominational Christian youth group. Inspired by this experience, Chris joined a number of Christian groups during his first year of college. During his second semester, he went on a retreat with the college’s Catholic Campus Ministry. Not knowing what to expect, Chris asked God to give him 4 things during the course of the retreat: 1) A friend he could trust completely, 2) To know if he was meant to be with his crush at the time, 3) To know if he was meant to be a Catholic, and 4) To learn how to pray.
Over the course of the weekend, all four of Chris’s prayers were answered after meeting Teresa, one of the group leaders who later became one of his closest friends. Most of all, she taught him how to pray: “prayer doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it’s just a conversation with God,” He began praying often with another friend from the retreat, Laura. When he learned that she was going to become a nun, it inspired him to purse a vocation in the priesthood. However, at the end of his senior year in college, the vocation director of the order he had chosen told him that he did not believe that he had a vocation there.
“The vocation director’s response was completely unexpected, and it raised a lot of questions for me,” Chris said. “What does God want me to do now?” Although Christ doesn’t have any definite answers yet, he does have a few ideas: grad school, FOCUS missionary, and marriage. Despite the difficulties he will face, Chris believes that God will be there to guide him.