The culture of vocations continues to grow. As I asked young men around the diocese if they wanted to attend our upcoming Quo Vadis discernment retreat, I was really encouraged about two things: 1) most of them really wanted to attend, even if for some reason they couldn’t, because 2) they had either heard about our first QV in the summer from their friends or they had attended it and really enjoyed building community during those few days. So as of last check about 10 guys are going to attend our next retreat which will be held the weekend before Thanksgiving. The momentum is building, and we are able to offer these events free of charge because of the generosity that you have shown over the past year.
When you gave to the 2nd Collection for Vocations back in August, you helped me offer this retreat in November. When you donated to the Homegrown Harvest Festival in October you helped foot the bill for our six current seminarians as they continue their priestly formation. Every time you give to this cause, however much it is, it pushes me to keep going. It helps me to remember that my job is not just to find anyone, but to encourage young men who are being called to answer that call to serve you. Your generosity has helped me to purchase a boatload of books that I plan to distribute to all of our deaneries in the coming year. I got some good ideas from other Vocation Directors of rural dioceses, and I hope to equip our pastors and parish leaders with some good resources to help them cultivate vocations so they can send them my way.
I’ve been getting inspiration these last few weeks from the book Priests for the Third Millennium. The book is a collection of conferences delivered by Cardinal Timothy Dolan when he was Rector of the North American College in Rome. The talks encourage his seminarians to build up many different priestly virtues in order to serve their people well. These virtues include humility, fidelity, obedience, courtesy, integrity, patience and joy. I have been taking some of our discerners through parts of this book as a way to help them discover whether God is calling them to serve as diocesan priests. If we are not forming men with these virtues, they will not serve you the way you need to be served, and so I ask for your prayers for me, that I have the insight and courage that I need to give our discerners and seminarians the tools they need to serve you the way you deserve, to honor the generous support you have given them by serving you with true, priestly virtue.
As Thanksgiving Day nears, I will be sure to give thanks to God for all of you. Thank you for caring so deeply about the future of the church. I do not take your support for granted, and neither do our seminarians and discerners. If you have any questions or concerns that you would like to bring to my attention, you can always contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Thanksgiving!