Basil Valente, OFM (far left), national vocation director, at a youth conference on the West Coast earlier this year with (l.-r.) Gregory Plata, OFM, Central Region vocation director; Jorge Martins, office manager of the national Vocation Office; Roger Lopez, OFM, a local vocation director and theology teacher at Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Sebastian Sandoval, OFM, Western Region vocation director.

Vocation Director Extends His Gratitude to HNP Friars for Vocation Ministry

HNP Communications HNPNow

Editor’s Note… As the vocation offices of the US-6 provinces have transitioned to the new national Vocation Office ahead of the completion of the unification process later this year, Basil Valente, OFM, national vocation director, extends his gratitude in this letter to Holy Name Province friars who supported the Province vocation ministry as regional vocation directors and as participants in vocation-related events and activities during his decade of service as HNP vocation director.

Dear Brothers,

You have probably heard me say more than once – without new Franciscan vocations, eventually we would have no friars, then no provinces and Franciscan Order. No one to ensure the continuity of what our founding father Francis began more than 800 years ago. It would all end. But Glory be to God. Our legacy province has YOU – and we prepare to welcome six new postulants – and possibly a seventh – who plan to join us in August. God is GOOD.

As we enter the final stretch in the unification of our US-6 provinces, I wanted to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for all that you have done to support vocation ministry over the past 10 years, from the time I accepted the position of vocation director of Holy Name Province. What a privilege and joy it has been for me to serve in this vital ministry alongside all of you – my brothers! God is VERY GOOD!

Your work in and commitment to vocation ministry is valued more than you’ll ever know. Your passion and zeal – your willingness to take on vocation ministry despite your demanding ministerial assignments and responsibilities – has been nothing short of inspiring – for me, and for all of our brothers! But most importantly, you have inspired men discerning Franciscan vocations! What a gift and blessing you have been to our Holy Name Province!

As it is stated in our General Constitution, “The brothers, aware of the appeal that St. Francis has, make it clear that his way of life and his values are an essential element of our calling.” As brothers, we try our best to “live according to St. Francis’ values with such carefulness, gentleness and joy that others might choose this way of life and share in it.” (GC, 145a)

You have probably also heard me say (I’ve lost count on this one) – every friar is a vocation director. I am grateful to you, my brothers, for taking these words to heart. I’ve been preaching to the choir. You live these words through your presence and accompaniment with men discerning our life. What better way for discerners to learn about Franciscan life than from the men living it!

I want you to know that your work in vocation ministry has been impactful. I share with you the feedback I hear from discerners: they are amazed by your authenticity and your prayer lives, inspired by your stories of the joys and struggles of your own discernment journey, grateful for your hospitality, and captivated by your diversity of talents and skills. They are drawn to our life because you embrace them, and you share your lived experiences and your love for the Gospel life in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.

A heartfelt thank you on behalf of all discerners with whom you walked alongside, not pushed; shared honest conversation, not false promises; offered opportunities to experience Franciscan ministry, not hand them a book about St. Francis; and invited into your fraternity for prayer, meals and ministry, not encounter from a distance. Whether you served as regional vocation directors, or whether you welcomed discerners into your friary, thank you.

While the intent of this letter is to thank you for everything you have done for vocation ministry, I am here to tell you what Francis would tell the friars in his day: “Let us begin again, brothers, for up until now, we have done little or nothing.”

Every friar is a vocation director. With the unification of the US-6 provinces just months away, we have a unique opportunity – and an obligation as vowed Franciscans – to ensure that our new national province in the United States flourishes with new vocations, so that we may continue our life in fraternal brotherhood, prayer, and care for the poor, marginalized and all creation.

This is a personal invitation to YOU – your opportunity to make an impact on growing our fraternity, attracting new vocations, sharing your lived experiences, and engaging with those inquiring about Franciscan life. I am excited about this vital ministry we call vocation, and what it will look like in the months and years ahead in our new province.

No matter where you are stationed – from the West Coast of California to the reaches of Northern New England, to our friaries in Puerto Rico and Cuba, or our missions in Japan, South America and Jamaica, I kindly ask you to join me in vocation ministry to help rebuild our 21st century Church, and help energize, enliven and invigorate our new province.

As Francis expressed in his “Prayer from a Letter to the Entire Order,” Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God, grant us the grace to do for you alone what we know you want us to do, and always to desire what pleases you. Thus, inwardly cleansed, interiorly enlightened, and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit, may we be able to follow in the footprints of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

With peace and gratitude for all you do to support vocation ministry, I remain


Basil J. Valente, OFM
National Vocation Director