Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Freyer of the Diocese of Orange was among the more than eight thousand U.S. pilgrims who gathered on the Mount of Beatitudes in Galilee on July 19 for a vocational meeting of the Neocatechumenal Way.

“God has been very good throughout this week for me,” Bishop Freyer said after witnessing some 250 young men express their openness to discern the priesthood and 300 young women do likewise for the religious life during a “vocational call” that brought them to the meeting stage for a special blessing.

Bishop Freyer said he made the trip to Israel to “encourage and support” the young pilgrims present from his diocese, as well as those from the neighboring dioceses of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego….

The July 19 meeting took place outdoors on the grounds of the Domus Galilaeae, an international retreat center on the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee, where participants braved sweltering humidity and temperatures over 100 degrees. The event took place six years to the day after the death of Carmen Hernandez, co-initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way with Kiko Argüello. The diocesan phase of Hernandez’s cause for beatification is set to open soon in the Archdiocese of Madrid.

Pilgrims prayed, sang, and heard a preached announcement of the kerygma — the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — and listened to a sung recitation of the beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew before remarks by His Beatitude Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who presided the encounter….

Apart from the young men and women who answered the vocational call, some 200 families also came to the stage at the end of the meeting to express their availability to be sent anywhere in the world as missionary families. Those who responded to the calls are now invited to begin a period of discernment in their parish-based communities on whether to enter the seminary or convent, or be sent as missionaries.

Bishop Freyer called it a “delight” to get a front row view of the response to the vocational calls.

Two days before, Bishop Freyer had celebrated Sunday Mass with 700 pilgrims from Southern California at the Domus Galilaeae. Throughout the week, he accompanied different groups from Orange to holy sites, including at the Mount of Transfiguration (Mount Tabor), the Primacy of Peter on the Sea of Galilee, and Magdala.

The above comes from a July 22  story in Angleus News.