By Father Joseph Sia
As many of you probably know by now, the Vocations Office will be restructured beginning July 1. Father Ross Epping will take on the title of Vocations Director and will be in charge of vocations promotions. Father Jake Greiner will be Director of Seminarians, and I will be Director of the Newly Ordained. Father Thom Hennen and Father Jeff Belger will remain as Associate Vocations Directors.
I will certainly continue to promote vocations while I am in my new assignment as pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, St. Joseph Parish in West Liberty and St. Bernadette Parish in West Branch. Indeed, every priest should be doing this as part of his ministry. I hope to be able to work with vocations committees in each of the three parishes where I will be at, and apply the many things that I learned from the “Hundredfold Workshop” held in December of 2018. Among my ideas: regularly preach about vocations, pray for vocations at Masses, have vocations holy hours, include vocations topics in catechism classes and marriage preparation, and work with various groups in the parishes to promote vocation discernment.
I will also continue to work with the Hispanic communities, especially those in my assigned parishes, because those are seedbeds for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Recently, Vocation Ministry, an organization dedicated to promoting vocations, developed a website and other resources in Spanish to reach out to the parents and formators of these youths. While most Hispanic kids and young adults have grown up in the United States and speak English, their parents, grandparents and godparents, who are the primary teachers of the faith, are more familiar with Spanish language material. It is crucial to reach out to them so that they can help foster vocations among the next generation.
While I am not yet saying goodbye, as I will still be helping out with vocations work, I do want to say thank you to all of you who are doing your part in promoting vocations, especially to the priesthood. Please continue to pray that more men may open their hearts to the love of God so that those who are called may hear God’s voice and respond charitably.
Please continue to talk to your children and grandchildren about the priesthood and encourage them to know what they can do about it, and to consider that God might be calling them to this vocation.
Please continue actively working in your parish to promote vocations in every way possible. We all need to be working together so that we can be God’s voice in today’s world. Who knows, you may just be the instrument that God wants to use to reach out to someone he is calling to become a priest!
(Father Sia is vocations director for the Davenport Diocese. Contact him at (563) 888-4255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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