By Anne Marie Amacher
Planting seeds is the goal of Vocations Days for Father Marty Goetz, director of vocations for the Diocese of Davenport. On May 9 and 10, sixth-graders from the diocese’s Catholic schools attended events Fr. Goetz organized in Bettendorf and Mount Pleasant to learn about the call to vocations.
Students from Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf, Prince of Peace Academy in Clinton, All Saints Catholic, John F. Kennedy and St. Paul the Apostle schools in Davenport and St. Joseph School in Dewitt attended the event May 9 at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf. Students from Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School in Burlington, Regina Elementary in Iowa City and Holy Trinity Elementary in West Point attended the event May 10 at St. Alphonsus Parish in Mount Pleasant.
Bishop Martin Amos gave a talk and celebrated Mass each of the days with the students. Others who gave talks to the youth were youth ministers, Fr. Goetz, Father Joe Miller, vocations director for the Society of the Precious Blood; Sister Cheryl Demmer, PBVM, of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine and St. Joseph Parish in Columbus Junction; and Sharon Crall of St. Mary Parish in Albia and St. Patrick Parish in Georgetown. Other activities and prayers also were part of the events. The day closed with prayer and the students renewed their baptism promises.
“The highlight of the events was Bishop Amos speaking with the sixth-graders,” Fr. Goetz said. “He talked on his gift of vocation and celebrated the Eucharist with them. The singing was great, too.”
One large-group activity involved students’ deciphering letters that revealed the phrase: “I’ve been called by name to do great things for Jesus and others.” Fr. Goetz said everyone was a winner in that game.
He believes the subject of vocations is too often viewed as taboo. “I want to show we all have a vocation and God has called each of us by name. These students may not know it now, but the hope is that we will open their hearts to see that they are called to do something great for Jesus.”
Fr. Goetz said such events might also spark a vocation to the priesthood, religious life or diaconate.
Holy Trinity Catholic School students offered the following reflections on the day:
“Truthfully, I can’t pick a favorite part because it was all fun!” Alexis Boyd said.
“I liked hearing what led the people there to be a priest or Sister,” Ali Randolph said.
“I learned that God calls each of us by name to do what he wants us to do,” Maggie Walker answered.
Josh Pieper learned there are different kinds of priests, while Avery Malinski learned that “being a Sister can be fun!”
Addie Malinski said learning about vocations is important “because we need to know about all of our options.” Bailey Merschman added, “It makes us keep the priesthood in mind.”
Lillian Schierbrock observed that “God is the one who chooses your vocation. You might want to say what you want to be, but God is the one that chooses.”
Prince of Peace students offered their reflections too:
Caitlyn Jacobs said, “I liked the breakout sessions where I learned about the different types of vocations and even my vocation. I learned about why Bishop Amos became a priest and how he became bishop.”
Alex Hessing added, “I liked Fr. Marty. He made it fun. I didn’t know there were so many vocations in our church.”