Home Education and Careers Santonio Hill of Vagabond Missions brings message to campus disciples at St....

Santonio Hill of Vagabond Missions brings message to campus disciples at St. Thomas More Oratory in Newark

Santonio Hill of Vagabond MIssions (Courtesy photo)

Santonio Hill grew up in St. Mary’s County, Md., with thoughts of playing in the National Football League. But he came closer to another job featured prominently on Sundays, and although he ultimately did not become a Catholic priest, Hill has continued to spread God’s word.

Hill, the assistant director of recruitment of Vagabond Missions, will be at the St. Thomas More Oratory on Sept. 21 as the first event of this year’s Catholic Conversations, a series of talks sponsored by campus ministry at the University of Delaware. The event is free and open to the public.

Hill, who will soon depart Vagabond Missions, said in a phone interview that he will talk about our call to mission. He cited Matthew 28.

“Jesus says that we are all missionaries,” Hill said. “He says to go out and preach and make disciples of all nations. That’s not something that’s called just for a few people. That’s something that everybody is called to do.”

St. Thomas More Oratory in Newark.

People will know what to do once they encounter God, he said. It is manifested differently in people. Hill said he will talk about his encounter, the one that propelled him to go out and speak to others.

Anyone 18 or older can do mission work, Hill said. There are multiple opportunities out there, and doing mission work doesn’t need to include traveling to some far-off land

“There’s a great quote from Mother Teresa. She talks about how everybody wants to come to Calcutta and serve, but one of the greatest realities in America is that there’s a Calcutta in your own back yard,” he said.

“If you’re living in the Hollywood Hills, there’s a Calcutta in other areas and other neighborhoods within south-side L.A. There are plenty of places to serve.”

One may see a person in need on his or her daily commute to work. That is an opportunity to serve, according to Hill. Even if you do not feel equipped to help, there is someone who can teach you how to serve and how to be part of your community in a bigger way.

Vagabond Missions serves teenagers in 14 missions in nine cities, including Philadelphia. The organization offers leadership training and outreach through physical activities, Mass and retreats. Vagabond missionaries in these cities offer adolescents the opportunity to encounter God, Hill said.

Hill appreciates having the chance to share his story with others through Vagabond. He graduated from Catholic University of America and spent four years in seminary, something that didn’t cross his mind while growing up. Although his vocation was not in the priesthood, his faith is still front and center.

“God still wants to use me in this way. It’s beautiful, and it’s also very fulfilling,” he said. “It’s one of those things that happened. I never thought I would be in a position like this.”

For those who are attending, Hill suggests coming with an open mind and ready to ask questions. People should be ready to understand and ”venture forward.” Be open to knowing what it means to go on mission and to serve in your own community.

Getting people’s curiosity about Jesus piqued is key, he said.

“Once that can happen, then we can start moving forward to get open to God and to start eventually seeking him and becoming a disciple.”