Holy Family parish in Artesia hosted its third biennial vocation fair for teenagers and young adults searching for direction in life March 19.

Approximately 230 confirmation candidates from Holy Family parish attended the event along with other young men and women from neighboring parishes and high schools. They heard from 20 different religious orders.

Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Solis concelebrated a Mass with seven other priests from four different orders. The bishop encouraged a commitment to the faith during his homily on the Feast of St. Joseph.

“During Mass it was really nice to have some interaction with the students,” said Sister Tracey Sharp of the Sisters of Charity of Rolling Hills.   

Holy Family parish centered the vocation fair around its confirmation candidates because they are at the age when they are most open to receive a “calling.”

“Studies have shown that the sixth and 11th grade is when kids are most impressionable to receive a calling,” said Father Raymond Decipeda, MMHC, of Holy Family Church in Artesia.When Father Decipeda came to Holy Family five years ago, he brought the idea of the vocation fair with him. The first two fairs were held on Sundays and focused on the entire parish, but the new approach focused mainly on confirmation candidates.

The girls went to the gym and to various classrooms to learn about different orders and hear first-hand from nuns themselves why they chose to live a consecrated life. Boys in attendance also went to St. Joseph’s Hall and to classrooms to meet with various orders of priests.

The teenage students listened attentively to the stories of the religious community. “I learned about the journey of becoming a sister, how they became one and why. It has crossed my mind once to become a sister. My mother used to think about becoming a sister too,” said Janelle Angcaco, 15. It is the hope of Holy Family parish that events like the vocation fair will plant a seed in young people’s hearts that are being called to a religious vocation.

“This will plant the seeds now and grow later,” said Father Decipeda.