RALEIGH, N.C. — Being alert to God’s call was the theme of homilies last week by HNP’s Vocation Director Brian Smail, OFM, who visited St. Francis of Assisi Church here. Targeting potential vocations to the Order, Brian preached at all Masses on the weekend of Nov. 30, describing his experience of being called to a Franciscan life. He also emphasized the importance to the Church of every person’s vocation: married, single, or priest or religious.
“Raleigh was a wonderful experience,” Brian said. “I preached with a First Sunday of Advent/vocations theme, emphasizing being awake and alert to God’s call in our lives.”
Pastor Mark Reamer, OFM, said: “We chose this weekend, thinking that many college-aged young men would be home on Thanksgiving break. Brian was a terrific presence for the parish, providing a great homily based upon the Advent scriptures, including his own story about becoming a friar.”
Contacting Potential New Friars
The friars, in partnership with the Knights of Columbus, are trying to cultivate a culture of vocations within the parish, said Mark.
In October, single men between the ages of 23 and 38 in the parish received a letter from the pastor.
“One week later, the Knights of Columbus sent a handwritten letter to each. A week later, the Knights followed up with a phone call,” Mark said. “This was focused toward inviting them to join the friars for evening prayer.”
The week before Thanksgiving, all single men between the ages of 17 and 23 received a postcard inviting them to a reception with Brian, hosted by the Knights, after Saturday evening Mass. The postcard was designed by staff member Joseph Wolyniak, coordinator of advocacy for the parish’s Franciscan Coalition for Justice and Peace. It asked, “What could brown do for you?” The classic UPS image was changed to include the brown of the friars’ robes.
Brian, shown in photo above at his desk in New York, said he is very impressed by the parish’s outreach initiative. “I think it serves as a great model for other parishes. The Raleigh friars and the people of the parish gave me a very warm welcome.”
Upcoming Vocation Ministry Events
This weekend, the Vocation Office hosts a “Come and See” hospitality weekend at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston.
Brian expects seven men to attend, which, he said, encourages him about future vocations.
Information about other vocation weekends can be found on the “Join Us” page of the Province’s Web site, and in Insight & Wisdom, the Vocation Ministry’s newsletter.