Explore is a retreat for young men in High School who want to explore their relationship with God and how they are called to respond to that growing relationship. A moment comes in the faith journey of each of us when God directs our path toward a life long commitment such as Christian Marriage, Holy Orders, Religious Life, etc. By exploring how other Christian men have experienced and responded to God’s call Explorers make their own steps down the Christian path more confidently.
Explore is about setting time aside to be with God in community. The intention is to give these young men the opportunity to experience Christ in a retreat type experience, so that they can be open to His invitation to follow Him. The retreat will consist of some great music, games, faith sharing, outdoor activities, creative prayer experiences and so much more.
The Explore retreat opens new doors for young men by creating a unique opportunity to strengthen one’s faith through prayer, reflection, recreation and fellowship. Together with the staff of youth ministers and seminarians, we are invited to discern our relationship with God and to hear how God is calling each person to serve in response to their baptismal call to holiness.
The “Explore” program in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston was begun in 1964 by Fr. William Steele, the first director of vocations for the (then) diocese. At first it was called “Pre-Seminary” days. The program attempted to closely imitate the experience of seminary life. It featured a tight schedule of academics, recreation and prayer. It was advertised as “ONLY for boys interested in the priesthood as a vocation.”
Vocation directors who followed Fr. Steele modified the program in different ways. The name was changed to “Explore” to indicate some of those changes. Explore took the Pre-Seminary format and introduced elements of a retreat as well as elements of summer camp.
Fr. Jack Dinkins followed Fr. Steele in the Office of Vocations and modified the program and renamed it “Explore”. As before, the seminarians were in charge of all of the activities, prayer, education and recreation. Fr. Drew Wood, Fr. Mario Arroyo, Fr. Stephen Tiemann, Fr. Clint Resstler, Fr. Dat Hoang, and Fr. TJ Dolce have continued the Explore tradition.
Many young men have made the Explore program over the years and a number have explored further by entering the seminary. Of those, several have gone on to be ordained priests. Many active Catholic laymen look back fondly on their Explore experiences and credit it with their later involvement in the Church. There are Explore alumni who now bring their own sons to Explore the possibility of a priestly vocation.
Thanks to all of the priests, seminarians and participants who have built the Explore tradition for forty years.
The staff of Explore consists of the seminarians of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. It is difficult at times for young men to identify with their pastor or other priests, but they can identify quite well with the seminarians. The program also benefits the seminarians in their formation toward priesthood. First of all, Explore provides them with an opportunity to practice their pastoring and teaching skills. They also must work collaboratively in order to run the program. Further, they develop a vocation consciousness and realize their special responsibility as seminarians to promote vocations. The vocation director also benefits by seeing his seminarians in an intense ministerial situation. He can discover the particular skills for ministry that are present in the seminarians.
The Serra Club
Galveston-Houston’s Explore program has traditionally enjoyed the assistance of the Serra Club of Houston. They sponsor a hamburger cookout during each Explore session. Frequently the bishop or other clergy will attend the cookout. It has been a highlight of past Explores.
Downloads (Click on links below)
Explore General Information/Informacion General
If you are interested and meet the qualifications, please fill out the registration form below.
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