Vocation Gatherings Focus on Digital Outreach

Rebecca Doel In the Headlines

NEW YORK — Grassroots promotion of Franciscan life and use of “new” social media were the focus of a recent meeting of the HNP Vocation Committee held at the Provincial Office on West 31st Street.

Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, discussed the success of the Franciscan Vocation Ministry’s Facebook ad, which was launched in late October, as well as ways to use social media — such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs — to build meaningful relationships with men discerning vocations.

“Each member of the Vocation Committee brings a level of expertise,” Brian said. “There are two former vocation directors, younger friars who have a good sense of college-age students and young adults, and several lay people who bring their own unique perspectives. The group has made significant contributions to our vocation promotion efforts, particularly in the area of strategic planning.”

NRVC Gathering
Earlier this month, Brian attended the bi-annual meeting of the National Religious Vocation Conference. The Nov. 4 to 8 gathering in Cleveland included roughly 400 vocation directors from around the English-speaking world. This year’s theme was “Casting the Net: Vocation Ministry in a Global Church and World.”

The keynote speakers presented the theory, theology, and spirituality posed by the opportunities and challenges to vocation ministry by our global Church and world. Among the speakers was Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

“Archbishop Sambi stressed the need of religious communities to be more visible in witnessing to the joy of consecrated life, as well as the charism of their founders,” Brian said.

Brian attended a workshop that presented various opportunities and challenges surrounding vocation promotion to Latino candidates, as well as the importance of understanding the Hispanic cultural context. Other workshops covered a variety of areas including vocation outreach to African-Americans, the process of vocational discernment, and campus ministry, Brian said.

Friar Resources
In a move to make more vocation resources available to all friars, the Vocation Office has added several documents to the HNP Extranet. Friars can now access the HNP Vocation handbook and strategic plan, as well as information describing the Vocation Office’s major 2010 accomplishments and inquiry statistics.

Later this month, Brian’s staff is distributing information to guardians about the next National Vocation Awareness Week, Jan. 9 to 15, 2011. In early December, the winter 2010 issue of Be A Franciscan newsletter will be distributed by the Vocation Office to friars and men who have inquired about life as a Franciscan.

The rear photo shows Vocation Committee members Joanne Cahoon, Brian, Daniel Horan, OFM, John Felice, OFM, Joan Licursi and Carolyn Croke.

 Rebecca Doel is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

Editor’s Note: Friars and ministries with experience and/or ideas about effective ways to use digital media are asked to contact the HNP Communications Office to submit comments.