March 22, 2023


Twenty-one men from across North America took part in a first-of-its-kind vocations retreat called “Be Attentive” on the campus of Hellenic College Holy Cross from March 16-18. Named after the liturgical command proclaimed before the reading of the Gospel, this retreat consisted of formal presentations offered by six clergymen, Chapel services, devotional experiences, and stimulating conversations amongst attendees, priests, and current students, all designed to help the participants more clearly understand what a priest is, what he does, and how a call to ordained ministry may manifest in their lives. 

Presenting to the group were Fr. Peter Orfanakos, Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, Fr. John Vlahos, Fr. Nicholas Louh, Fr. Panagiotis Boznos, and Fr. Samuel Davis (OCA). The presentations and subsequent question-and-answer sessions were held in the Archbishop Iakovos Museum, surrounded by the vestments and evocative personal effects of this exemplary hierarch of blessed memory.

Hellenic College Holy Cross’s Vision Statement reads: “to be the intellectual, educational and spiritual formation center of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, stimulating, developing, and sustaining ordained and lay vocations for service to Church and society, based on faith.” Though HCHC has a long history of nurturing vocations via its seminarian program and other graduate degrees and programs, this event was developed by the Office of the President, in concert with the Chaplain and the Office of Enrollment, specifically to stimulate vocations. 

Dr. Bruce Beck, Director of Enrollment Management, said “I believe we will see several of these men enrolled, if not this fall, in the years that follow.”

Attendees said of the event:

“I left Be Attentive once again knowing why I ever wanted to be a priest in the first place, to help people heal, and more than that why I even became a Christian, to love God and show people His love. I am eternally thankful to all of you for putting this together and I am already recommending this retreat to everyone I know thinking about the priesthood!”

“The entire experience was honestly incredible. I really think I was led to be at the retreat, and being around so many others who were serious about serving the Church was so incredibly refreshing…I would recommend without hesitation such an event to anyone who is considering their vocational service to the Church.”

While the content presented by the speakers was phenomenal, in many ways the direct and informal interactions with the priests and organizers was equally if not more helpful.”

“This seminar was one of the most blessed, educational, and meaningful experiences of my life. I was blessed to learn a great amount not only from the presenters and hosts, but also from the other attendees.”

“I came away from this event having learned things that will make me a better husband, father, and Christian man, regardless of whether I am called to attend seminary or pursue the priesthood.”