By Fr. Joseph Sia
As I enter my fourth month as vocations director, I am beginning to have a better sense of what this work entails and what strategies and techniques I need to develop to make my work more efficient. With the grace of God, I also hope that my work will be fruitful.
Last month I marked my first “National Vocations Awareness Week” as vocations director. I began the week, Nov. 4, by talking about vocations with the first-year confirmation class at St. Mary Parish in Davenport, where I am assigned as sacramental minister. We watched a video clip from, “Chosen,” which is a series geared for confirmation students. There are about 40 students in this class, mostly teenagers from families with a Hispanic background.
On Monday and Tuesday of that week, we had our Clergy Overnighter at the Steeplegate Inn in Davenport, where the topic was on developing a “culture of vocations” in all parishes of the Davenport Diocese. The guest speaker was Rhonda Gruenewald, author of the book, “Hundredfold: A Guide to Parish Vocation Ministry.” Rhonda shared her experiences of establishing vocation ministries in her parish and in other places. She gave practical and insightful advice to all present.
On Nov. 7, I visited the eighth-graders at All Saints Catholic School in Davenport where we did a live video chat with a couple of our seminarians from Conception Seminary in Missouri. Then on Nov. 9, I journeyed to Notre Dame School in Burlington, where I got to spend time with sixth- through 12th-graders. We also did a live video chat with our seminarians studying at Conception; St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity (Minnesota); University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein (Illinois); and the Pontifical North American College (Rome).
For all of the students, this was the first time that they saw and talked with a seminarian! They asked some very good questions, such as:
“What made you decide to want to become a priest?”; “What is your philosophy?”; “What is daily life like in seminary?”; “What is your favorite football/baseball team?”; “What do you do in your free time?” I also spoke to the students about the different vocations and I encouraged the students to pray for the vocation that God has planned for them.
Finally, on Saturday, Nov. 10, I assisted at a retreat for married couples held at the Parish Center of St. Mary, Davenport. Around 20 couples attended.
I would like to extend my thanks to all those who worked behind the scenes to ensure the success of these endeavors — there’s too many of you to list, and I don’t want to miss anybody — but you know who you are and I am grateful for your help and support. Let us continue to pray that men and women in our diocese will be open to hearing God’s voice so that they may receive the clarity of vision to fulfill God’s plan for their lives as they seek to become saints! For more information about the Vocations Office, visit www.davenportvocations.org.
(Fr. Joseph Sia is director of vocations for the Diocese of Davenport.)