Jackson vocations office, New Orleans seminary both add staff

JACKSON – In February of this year Bishop Joseph Kopacz reorganized the Office of Vocations, forming a team to promote religious vocations within and outside the Diocese of Jackson. The office now has three employees, Father José de Jesús Sánchez acts as the director of recruitment, Father Brian Kaskie is the director of seminarians and Melisa Preuss-Muñoz is an administrative assistant.
Father Sánchez’s ministry is to travel throughout the diocese visiting Catholic high schools, parishes and colleges, to promote the priesthood as an option for young men, and religious life for both men and women. These visits provide Father Sánchez with the opportunity to discuss what it means to hear and follow God’s call.
Meeting with young adults enables him to discern who, among these young people, shows the interest and skills to enter into the religious life. He also continues to serve as associate pastor for the Catholic Community of Meridian.
In addition, Father Sánchez makes himself available to counsel those who find it difficult to hear God’s call, whether it be to the priesthood, religious life, marriage or single life. He commits himself to meet with the young people to talk about their dreams and God’s dreams for them. The end goal is to give young adults the means to evaluate themselves and God’s desires for them, so that they may reach holiness and help others to become holy as well.
Finally, if a young man decides to begin his priestly formation or a young woman, the religious life, Father Sánchez will help them apply to the seminary or religious community.
Father Brian Kaskie, director of seminarians, walks closely with those who are in seminary formation either at St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, La., where men pursue a college degree while going through initial discernment and at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans for graduate studies and final formation. Father Kaskie keeps in constant communication with the seminarians and helps to provide everything they might need during their years of discernment and formation.  He attends their evaluations and acts as a liaison between the seminary and Bishop Kopacz. He is also pastor of McComb St. Alphonsus Parish.
Melisa Preuss-Muñoz acts as a link between Father Sanchez, Father Kaskie, and the seminarians. She works in the chancery in Jackson. Her duties also include updating the vocations section of the website for the Diocese of Jackson, developing and distributing diocesan resources for religious vocations, and organizing and implementing various activities, such as Vocation Awareness Days, at schools.
“We are eager to answer any questions you may have about religious life and would like to help you in any possible. God calls us to the religious life in mysterious ways. If you feel you might hear the call or if you would like to speak with Father Sánchez about discerning God’s call, please call the office,” said Preuss-Muñoz.
Anyone can reach the Religious Vocations office by phone at 601-960-8484 or email at vocations@jacksondiocese.org.  Anyone can support the efforts to promote vocations by prayer and on social media by following Jackson Vocations on Facebook, Twitter (@jxnvocations), and the website (vocations.jacksondiocese.org).