Fraternal Gatherings Feature Vocation Promotion

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

NEW YORK — The importance of creating a strong culture of vocations in which all HNP friaries and ministries actively identify potential new friars is being highlighted through the Province’s current series of regional fraternal gatherings.

Last week, vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, premiered the vocation video, “Make a Life Shift: Be A Franciscan,” to a group of 45 friars at the gathering at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston and received positive feedback, he said.

Life Shift Video
The friars said that the video, developed by the Franciscan Vocation Ministry, “was inviting and engaging,” Brian said. “The video is an attempt to educate the viewer not only about Holy Name Province and its ministries but also the formation process. The content was developed based on frequently asked questions from inquirers.”

The title of the video is based on last year’s advertising campaign in which the theme “Day Shift; Night Shift; How About a Life Shift?” was publicized on New York City subways, on the Web, in vocation journals and other publications.

“After viewing the video, potential candidates will have a good view of friar life,” Brian said.

The DVD is being distributed to men who inquire about the Province with the Vocation Ministry and to all HNP houses. It will be shown at special events and also to individuals who express interest in Franciscan life, Brian said, adding that the video had been shown a week earlier by regional vocation director Sean O’Brien, OFM, at a gathering in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Vocation Life Cycle 
At the gatherings, Brian is also showing a PowerPoint presentation titled “Vocation Life Cycle” and distributing an “HNP Vocations Handbook.” Both are intended to “give fraternities concrete suggestions on how to promote vocations at the local level,” he said. 

The handbook is an elaboration of the PPT presentation, developed by Walter Liss, OFM, a regional vocation director, in conjunction with the HNP Vocation Committee of which he is a member. The handbook was compiled for the committee by Dominic Perri and Joanne Cahoun, consultants hired by the Province to research and draft the HNP 2008-2013 Strategic Plan.

Friars seemed very excited about the information that was presented, Brian said, adding that in the question and answer portion of the Feb. 25 fraternal gathering, friars discussed common obstacles encountered with attracting religious vocations.

Brian’s talk also included an overview of research about vocations. It described the barriers to vocation, value of using new technologies, and the importance of developing connections with men who are potential friars. His presentation describes the vocation life cycle as including identification, cultivation and support.

In emphasizing that fostering vocations is the work of all friars, Brian opens and closes his talk with the message: “The Future of Holy Name Province Begins with You.” This phrase is included on a prayer card that was distributed to attendees.

Province’s Strategic Plan
In addition to vocation, six other topics are being featured at the Fraternal Gatherings: 
· Report on friar inventory, which compiles information about skills and interests
· Criteria for engagement and disengagement from ministries
· Leadership transition 
· Partners-in-ministry 
· Reflection on mission statement
· Provincial updates

These are all elements of the HNP Strategic Plan, said Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, who moderated the Feb. 25 gathering.

— Jocelyn Thomas, HNP director of communications, reports that the vocation video will be posted on the Province’s Web site this spring.