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Priests at the Heart of the Run for Vocations | Community Spirit

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Priests at the Heart of the Run for Vocations
Priests at the Heart of the Run for Vocations


The following information was sent to us by Brie Hall: 


The diagnosis was frightening: an aortic aneurysm with imminent surgery. The young man knew the situation was serious. He turned to his pastor and other priests for support, prayers and guidance. Now that young man will be at the starting line with the rest of the Archdiocese of Washington’s “Run for Vocations” 10K team at the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 30, 2011.

Conor Dugan, a parishioner of St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill, ran in high school and has since enjoyed participating in road races. But in 2009, his running days were halted when he learned he had to have open-heart surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.  Dugan turned to friend and priest, Fr. Andrew Royals at St. Elizabeth in Rockville, who had undergone a similar surgery and, in fact, had the same surgeon. Fr. Royals talked Dugan through what to expect about the surgery as only someone who had been in the same situation could have done.  But it was his quiet actions in the hospital after the surgery that left such a great impression on Dugan. 


This will be Dugan’s first race post surgery. He said he is running the 10K because the priests were such a big part of his life and walked with him through surgery and recovery. 


The 2011 Run for Vocations team is made up of 212 participants—up from 180 participants last year. This year, 47 will run in the full marathon, 165 will participate in the 10K. Four priests and 15 seminarians are on the team.  


Among them is Br. Ignacio González, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who joined St. Anselm's Abbey three years ago. 


Each runner has a minimum fundraising goal of $500 for the full Marathon and $250 for the 10K. This amount is significantly lower than other charity teams. Funds raised through the team are used to cover unexpected expenses for seminarians, including medical costs, travel expenses in the event of a family emergency and spiritual enrichment opportunities. Last year, the team raised over $66,000.


 Currently, 73 men are studying for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Washington, including 35 in college and pre-theology studies.


The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics living in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.


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