Vocation Update: Office Plans for 2017-18 Year

Johann Cuervo Friar News

Friars attend the recent RVD meeting at Siena College. From left to right are Daniel Dwyer, Basil Valente, Octavio Duran, Hugh Hines, Paul Santoro, Henry Fulmer, Ross Chamberland, Todd Carpenter, Michael Johnson and Juan Turcios. (Photo courtesy of Vocations Ministry)

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y.  Several Province regional vocation directors gathered last month at Siena College for a day of education, discussion, and fraternity before they begin their three-year roles.

Vocation director Basil Valente, OFM, opened the July 20 session with a welcome and a series of discussions regarding the discernment process and vocation statistics, as well as policies and guidelines for the application process.

“The meeting encouraged a collaborative and organic approach to our vocation initiatives,” said Basil. “We also discussed the establishment and growth of organic discernment communities, social media, and new branding initiatives. The conversations were lively and poignant, with each director bringing a unique perspective and creative questions to the table.”

A representative from each of the Province’s regions – the North, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South — was present to discuss the role of the regional vocation director, review the discernment process, and consider best practices as the Province looks forward to the next three years, according to Ben Simpson, the vocation office’s coordinator, who noted “the meeting very much energized the group. We can’t wait to see how the Holy Spirit will work through the ministry in the coming years.”

The participating friars — Todd Carpenter, OFM, Ross Chamberland, OFM, Octavio Duran, OFM, Henry Fulmer, OFM, Hugh Hines, OFM, Michael Johnson, OFM, Paul Santoro, OFM, and Juan Turcios, OFM — offered their questions and perspectives.

Henry Fulmer, Juan Turcios and Octavio Duran at the RVD meeting. (Photo courtesy of Vocations Ministry)

“It was a great privilege to gather with so many brothers as we collectively venture forward in the good work of promoting vocations to our Franciscan way of life,” said Ross, a regional vocation director at St. Bonaventure University, overseeing the initiatives in Western New York. “I was edified by the level of professional and ministerial competencies made available for our training; and by the generous hospitality of Mark Reamer, OFM, and our brothers at St. Bernardine of Siena Friary.”

“Basil and Benjamin did a wonderful job of welcoming us – and enlightening us – of our responsibilities for increasing vocations in our local ministries and fraternities,” said Henry, of Triangle, Va. “The experience of listening to my brothers, expressing the joys of walking with a candidate, or inviting a candidate to our way of life was life changing.   The idea that we, Holy Name Province, are receiving a good number of inquiries each year spurs hope for the future of our Franciscan life.”

The meeting inspired the RVDs to enhance vocation promotion and to plan to share their experiences with future postulants.

“All of the participants seemed aware that an RVD is the face of the Province for potential candidates,” said Basil. “As one friar put it, we are the initial contacts with the candidates, from preliminary interviews to mentors and brothers on their journey.”

Another attendee said he thinks the role of the regional vocation director is to share the joy of being a friar. “I’m grateful to work with the team as we share our lived experience of faith, fraternity, and mission and encourage others to join our way of life,” said Paul, who will be overseeing vocations in Orlando, Fla. “We have a fraternity of which I am very proud and look forward to continuing sharing that joy with others.”

The vocation office staff is pleased that two Holy Name Province friars are professing their final vows this summer. Casey Cole, OFM, and Ramón Razón, OFM, will profess their solemn vows at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City on Aug. 26.

This month, several interprovincial formation events are taking place around the United States.

On Aug. 2, nine friars, including four members – James Bernard, OFM, Nicholas Carbuto, OFM, Steven Kuehn, OFM, and Adolfo Navarro-Blanco, OFM – of Holy Name Province, will profess first vows at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis. The reception of novices will take place on Aug. 21 in St. Barbara, Calif. A week later, on Aug. 31, 20 men will be welcomed as postulants at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md.

“Our prayers and our love are with all of them, especially during this Spirit-filled time leading up to Profession,” said Basil. “We fondly recall the blessing of St. Francis of Assisi at this wonderful Franciscan juncture: The Lord bless you and keep you. May He show His face to you and have mercy. May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace. The Lord bless you, Casey, Ramon, Jim, Nick, Steve, Adolfo and our many other brothers in the Order.”

Later this summer, the Vocation Ministry will announce its 2017-18 events. Information about the Province’s vocation and formation programs can be found on BeAFranciscan.org.

–   Johann Cuervo is a communications assistant in the Provincial Office. 

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