Vocation Update

Jocelyn Thomas Features

NEW YORK –- Holy Name’s Vocation ministry is increasing its visibility in several ways. It is raising awareness for a vocation in religious life through its participation in a recent national gathering, and by increasing information and features on the Web site.

Earlier this month, Vocation Director Brian Smail, OFM, attended the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) Convocation in Louisville, Ky. Approximately 450 men and women religious who are vocation directors, formators and leadership from religious communities in the United States, Canada, and Ireland participated.

The keynote speaker was Fr. Donald Senior, CP, president of Catholic Theological Union.

National Gathering
Fr. Senior spoke on vocation, against the backdrop of the Year of St. Paul. He spoke about Paul’s own sense of vocation in his commitment to spread the Gospel in the world of his day. Part II of his address centered on the notion of “God’s call,” and its roots in scripture.

The Oct. 9-13 convocation included a great variety of breakout sessions on topics such as vocation advertising, youth ministry, creating a culture of vocations in religious congregations, screening candidates for admission, and discernment, Brian said.  On Friday,  participants attended solemn Evening Vespers at the Cathedral (Assumption) led by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

The NRVC holds national conferences every two years, Brian said. “In addition, the organization often sponsors workshops geared to assist vocation directors in their ministries of promoting vocations.”

Brian said he enjoyed connecting with “so many other vocation directors and sharing ideas, challenges, and just enjoying the company of so many people committed to this ministry. The Franciscans were well represented among both men’s and women’s communities.”

The NRVC began in 1988 as a combination of the National Conference of Religious Vocation Directors and the National Sisters Vocation Conference.

Web Communications
The Vocation Page of Holy Name Province’s Web site was recently enriched by the addition of several new features. The “Join Us” Page now offers background information on friars in sections titled “Student Friars” and “Meet Our Friars.” Visit it to read biographical information about the current friars in Holy Name’s formation program, as well as essays about why recently professed friars decided to join Holy Name Province.

The Vocation Ministry’s Page also contains:

  • A presentation about the Province called  “Formation to a Way of Life, Formation for a Lifetime”
  • A video called “Become a  Franciscan” that appears on YouTube

The Vocation Office collaborated with HNP’s Communications Office to enhance the value of this site.

Information about the initial formation process can also be found in the current edition of Insight & Wisdom, the vocation ministry’s quarterly newsletter.  The Fall 2008 issue includes stories about:

  • New postulants
  • Recently-professed friars
  • Upcoming vocation events
  • Summer assignments of student friars

The newsletter was mailed last week to friaries and others on the subscriber list.  Past issues of I&W are available on the Vocation Web page. Brian and his assistant, Carolyn Croke, supervised a reformatting of the publication earlier this year.

Next week,Brian will be visiting Greenville S.C., where he will speak about Catholic social teaching to a group of Furman University students interested in Franciscan life. Patrick Tuttle, OFM, formed the group  last year.

—  Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.