Our Homegrown Harvest effort is working. Not only have we netted four new seminarians in the past year, but we have two men currently in the application process and one more who is in a pre-seminary online program that we offer to guys who are seriously considering a priestly vocation.
The health of a vocation department is not just quality and quantity of candidates; it’s also dependent on building up a good support system for all those who have a hand in promoting and supporting vocations. Here are some other initiatives that we recently ramped up with that in mind:
– We had our first ever POPS event on Sept. 24. The Parents of Priests/Seminarians/Sisters is an effort to support our parents who are supporting their children in discernment. The Knights of Columbus of the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle provided dinner. It was a great event. We are looking at doing a Christmas party in December.
– I attended Southeastern Pastoral Institute’s Encuentro Regional (Regional Encounter Workshop) Oct. 12-14 to learn more about working with young Hispanic Catholics in our parishes and helping them discover their vocation. It was a great experience, and I enjoyed the networking and got some good ideas both for vocation promotion and parish best practices for Hispanic ministry. Bishop Kopacz and Faith Formation director, Fran Lavelle also attended this workshop which was held in St. Augustine, Florida.
– We hosted our first ever Bethany Night in mid-October. This was a dinner, talk, and time of adoration for young women open to the call to religious life. Sister Karolyn Nunes, FSGM, was in town and so I asked her to give a presentation to those who attended. Sister Karolyn is the vocation director for the Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr St. George, the same order that Kathleen McMullin, now Sister Mary Kolbe McMullin, entered last year. A great thanks goes to the Knights of Columbus from Holy Savior in Clinton for providing dinner and to this parish for hosting us. I also took Sister Karolyn to St. Joe High School in Madison to speak with two sections of Senior Theology, and that was a great time, the kids were full of great questions.
And our Homegrown Harvest Festival has brought in a record amount to go toward the tuition/books/fees for our nine seminarians. Thank you all for the trust that you have placed in the Lord as we have made a call for support of our men in formation and thank you for you the encouragement you continue to give to young men to consider the call to the priesthood and young women to consider the call to religious life.