Students get creative to promote vocations

The winning vocation poster entry, by Emalee Thul, eighth-grader at St. Joseph School in DeWitt.

By Fr. Marty Goetz

Since my beloved Chicago Bears didn’t make the Super Bowl this year, I wasn’t that interested in the game between Arizona and Pittsburgh. But I was very interested in the commercials. I loved watching the commercials — laughing out loud at a lot of them and for others wondering, “Why would they do that?” A few months ago, I read about a lady who was willing to pay $3 million to advertise for a husband. I don’t think it made the final cut.

Earlier this year, I asked our students in grades five through eight to come up with an ad or jingle to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life, with the winners having pizza with Bishop Martin Amos and the overall winner’s ad appearing on our vocation poster for this year. Our overall winner, eighth-grader Emalee Thul from St. Joseph’s School in DeWitt, came up with this slogan: “God lights the way for us — Who do you light the way for?”

And the other responses were wonderful, too. Some students made up posters. Some submitted jingles. They were creative and inspiring. But unfortunately, we could only pick 13 to have pizza with Bishop Amos. I’d like to share with you some of the other ideas that students submitted. (Note: I have added some other comments in parentheses):

• “Give your life to the one who gave you life.” (We are called to give our lives to Jesus and to serve one another. Let us pray that many more of our young people will be open to give their lives to Jesus and service.)

• “The signs are everywhere.” (May we be open to the many signs of God’s presence in our lives.)

• “Vocations: Think about it, Pray about it, and Do it.” (Sometimes the direct approach works best.)

• “Ordination: It’s good to get collared” (I can’t think of any better calling. I thank God every day that I have been called to such a special life and gift.)

Now you can see why it was so hard to choose the winners. I am greatly appreciative of our young men and women who took the time to write and my thanks extend to the teachers and parents who encouraged them. And I am really looking forward to the near future when our winners will gather with Bishop Amos for pizza!

My favorite commercial for the Super Bowl went like this:

“It can be hard to know when you need a new job. As a rule, if you hate going to work every day it might be time … and your coworkers don’t respect you … and you always wish you were somewhere else … and you cry constantly … and you sit next to this guy … it might be time…”

I liked this ad because it is totally different from my experience as a priest. My vocation is not a job — it is a call and gift from God. And if I were coming up with an ad, I might say: “Priesthood: What a wonderful life!” But I like Emalee’s better!

(Fr. Goetz is vocations director for the Davenport Diocese. Contact him at (563) 324-1912 ext. 259, or goetz@davenportdiocese.org.)

Full list of winners, honorable mentions:

Overall winner: “God lights the way for us — Who do YOU light the way for?”  — Emalee Thul, eighth grade, St. Joseph School, DeWitt

First runner-up: “Give your life to the one who gave you life”  — Miranda Meland, sixth grade, St. Joseph School, DeWitt

Second runner-up: “You can’t go the wrong way if you go God’s way”  — Katelyn Youngerman, eighth grade, John F. Kennedy Catholic School, Davenport

Third runner-up: “Believe in Something Better: Priesthood”  — Kim Kaster and Madeline Chasey, sixth grade, Prince of Peace Academy, Clinton

Honorable mentions:

“Working for God…What more could you want?”  — Emily Burke, seventh grade, St. Joseph School, DeWitt

“Extra! Extra! Learn all about it! Join a vocation today and you’ll surely love it!”  — Tessa Daily, sixth grade, John F. Kennedy Catholic School, Davenport

“Need a purpose in life? Devote yourself to God, the best purpose ever!”  — Bridget Fausnaught, seventh grade, St. Joseph School, DeWitt

“Vocations: Think about it, Pray about it, and Do It!”  — Tyler Zeimet, fifth grade, John F. Kennedy Catholic School, Davenport

“Share the light of Religious Life” — Savannah Necker, sixth grade, St. Joseph School, DeWitt

“Priests touch lives forever. Think about a vocation” — Jack Van Scyoc, sixth grade, John F. Kennedy Catholic School, Davenport

“The signs are everywhere. Follow God’s call” — Noelle Feldpausch, eighth grade, St. Joseph School, DeWitt

 “Rockin’ around the sacred cross, have a happy, holy day” — Rebecca Lyons and Alyssa Sikkema, sixth grade, Prince of Peace Academy, Clinton

“Work for God: There’s no better boss”  — Josh Voelkers, fifth grade, John F. Kennedy Catholic School, Davenport

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