Vocation Update: Director Attends Mega-Conference

HNP Communications Features

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Vocation Director Brian Smail, OFM, represented Holy Name Province at the Franciscan Family Vocation Directors Mega-Conference held this month at the Franciscan Renewal Center here.

Vocation directors from the Third Order Regulars, OFMs (including the Croatian Custody and the Custody of the Holy Land), OFM Conventuals, OFM Capuchins and Atonement friars attended the Sept. 14-21 conference.

Keynote speaker Jay Hammond, a St. Bonaventure scholar from St. Louis University, spoke about various aspects of Franciscan spirituality that are attractive to young people discerning a religious vocation. Brian said participating directors discussed approaches to advertising, various policies related to the evaluation of potential candidates for Franciscan life and the recently-released Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate (CARA) study on religious vocations.

New CARA Report
The CARA report, released in August 2009, presents findings from a study of recent vocations to religious life in the United States. The study is based on surveys of religious institutes, surveys and focus groups with recent vocations to religious life, and an examination of selected religious institutes that have been successful in attracting and retaining new members. The more than 400-page study is available online.

Brian said the conference’s liturgies were a “very powerful experience of our common Franciscan heritage, particularly since one of the days of the conference fell on the Feast of the Stigmata of our Holy Father Francis.”

He said local St. Barbara Province friars were welcoming and hospitable, hosting a reception at the friary for conference participants.

Vocation Projects
The Province’s Vocation Office has a full autumn season planned. Last weekend, Brian hosted a “Come and See” weekend at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, attended by four men. David Convertino, OFM, gave a well-received presentation.

Brian and his assistant, Carolyn Croke, are working on the following: a fall meeting of the Province’s Vocation Committee, new name for the newsletter of the Vocation Office and upcoming vocation weekends, including a discernment retreat Oct. 24 and 25 at Mt. Irenaeus in West Clarksville, N.Y., organized by Basil Valente, OFM, a Franciscan Experience Weekend (FEW) Nov. 20-22 at St. Anthony Shrine and a “Come and See” weekend Dec. 4-6, also at the shrine. For more information about upcoming vocation weekends, visit the “Join Us” page on the Provincial Web site.

In the photo above, Brian is at the right end of the second row.