NEW YORK — In the past month, Holy Name Province’s Vocation Ministry has launched both a blog and a Facebook page, in hopes to reach a new, younger audience.
These two additions, both using the name “Be A Franciscan,” allow discerning men the opportunity to learn more about the Province and to communicate with vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, as well as regional vocation directors and student friars.
“I wanted to launch (the blog and Facebook) because, in order to reach young people regarding vocations, we need to be creative and go where they are to be found,” Brian said. “Many young people are involved in social networking sites, like Facebook, and they pay attention to blogs because they are interactive.”
The “Be A Franciscan” blog, live since the beginning of August, will include news and reflections about the formation process written by Brian as well as student friars and other members of the Vocation Ministry. Brian posted a reflection on the Aug. 16 Rite of Candidacy, welcoming new postulants George Camacho, Alexander LaPoint and Brian Taberski.
The Vocation Ministry will use the Facebook page to allow dialogue with interested men as well as to keep them up-to-date about future vocation events.
New Vocation Teams
The Vocation Ministry has also added additional friars, available in each region, to meet with inquiring candidates. Brian is implementing a “vocation team” system as part of the development of the Province’s Strategic Plan for Vocations.
He said these teams of regional vocation directors and assistant regional vocation directors will make recruitment efforts more visible as well as share the responsibility of promoting vocations.
A critical role of the assistant vocation directors will be to serve as spiritual directors. “Often, a man who is interested in our Province needs some ongoing support in his discernment, and I always suggest spiritual direction,” Brian said.
He added that he kept this role in mind when choosing which friars would serve as the assistant. “For example, I asked Gene Pistacchio, OFM, in Boston to be an assistant regional vocation director. He is a wonderful spiritual director and able to provide ongoing support that has never really been available for interested men.”
The teams are David Convertino, OFM, and Gene, of Boston, for New England; Basil Valente, OFM, and David Blake, OFM, of Allegany, N.Y., for Upstate New York — West; Walter Liss, OFM, and Brian Belanger, OFM, of Loudonville, N.Y., for Upstate New York — East; Russel Murray, OFM, and Michael Johnson, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., for Mid-Atlantic; Thomas Vigliotta, OFM, and David Hyman, OFM, of Athens, Ga., for the South; and Sean O’Brien, OFM, and George Corrigan, OFM, of Tampa, Fla., for Florida.
Other Vocation News
The Vocation Office has released its 2009-2010 schedule of vocation weekends. This fall, weekends will be held in Boston and Western New York.
St. Anthony Shrine in Boston will be the site for two Come and See Weekends, Sept. 25-27 and Dec. 4-6. The shrine will also host a Franciscan Experience Weekend (FEW) Nov. 20-22. FEWs are an opportunity for men, invited to attend the weekend, to discuss their calling in depth with the vocation director.
At Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat in West Clarksville, N.Y., Louis McCormick, OFM, will lead a discernment retreat weekend Oct. 24-25 for students from nearby St. Bonaventure University as well as other interested men.
Additionally, Brian will be attending the Mega Conference of Franciscan Vocation Directors Sept. 14 through 18 in Scottsdale, Ariz. A report on the conference, sponsored by the English-speaking Conference, will be included in a future issue of this newsletter.