DORRANCE TOWNSHIP – Braving 90-degree heat, a total of 152 golfers gathered at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club on July 8 for an annual tournament with a higher purpose: raising money to support seminarians and future priests of the Diocese of Scranton.

The picturesque greens of the Luzerne County golf course once again served as the setting for the Vocations Golf Classic – John Yourishen Memorial Tournament.

“It’s a different place to build up our church, a different way to get to know one another,” Rev. Alex Roche, tournament chair, explained. “As our number of seminarians starts going up, as it increases every year and we have more guys discerning and thinking about the priesthood and praying about the priesthood, it becomes more important to support them.”

The golf tournament raised more than $120,000 to support seminarian education expenses and pastoral training for those preparing to dedicate their lives to the service of others.

“This is a cause that everyone loves to support,” Sandra Snyder, tournament co-chair, added. “We have been coming to this course for years, so people know this tournament and they mark it on their calendars. It is one of those ‘save the date’ tournaments.”

The Vocations Golf Classic attracted a diverse group of players from every corner of our 11-county diocese, ranging from seasoned pros to enthusiastic amateurs, all united by their shared commitment to a worthy cause.

“My three guys carry me every year,” Deacon Carmine Mendicino joked. “I come to enjoy the company. I enjoy the weather and riding around and greeting people.”

Deacon Mendicino has attended the tournament since it started more than a decade ago.

“Over the years, the camaraderie builds on the golf course with all of the seminarians,” he added. “I look forward to it every year.”

Nicholas Wasko of Saint Ann Basilica Parish in Scranton, who was just accepted as the newest seminarian for the Diocese of Scranton, attended the tournament for the first time.

Although he had never golfed before, Wasko greeted golfers as they arrived at the registration tables and later hit the fairways with a group to get to meet those supporting the cause.

“To get to meet the supporters of the Vocations Office and supporters of the diocese in general, it is a great opportunity to connect,” Wasko said.

As the sun set on the tournament, participants gathered for a celebratory dinner and awards ceremony. While there were stories of great shots and friendly rivalries exchanged, the golfers celebrated the collective impact they made in supporting seminarian education.

Seminarian Cody Yarnall of Saint Matthew Parish in East Stroudsburg gave remarks on behalf of those who will benefit.

“I can speak on behalf of myself personally, and also the seminarians in the Vocations Office, when I say the financial support is invaluable, contributing to our formation as we progress towards priesthood,” Yarnall stated.

With plans already in motion for next year’s tournament, in the July 18 edition of The Catholic Light, a listing of all those who sponsored or contributed to the Vocations Golf Classic this year. In gratitude, we thank everyone who supports our seminarians!