Father Carl Wertin, Assistant Director
Vocations Advisory Board
Rev. Carlos Alvarez
Rev. Steven Murray
Rev. Donald Malin
November 11, 2015
Dearest Clergy, Religious, and Faithful of the Diocese of Pueblo,
As announced in the CPC Email Blast (November 11th, Vol. 4, no. 43), Bishop Berg has asked me to serve as the new Vocation Director, and I am both happy and honored to accept the appointment and serve in this way. Pope Francis has said, “Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision…Rather it is the response to a call and to a call of love.” With great joy, we are eagerly anticipating the Ordination of Deacon Henry Wertin, the last of our seminarians, to the Priesthood at the Cathedral on Friday, February 5th at 7pm! This does, however, leave us with a huge challenge: Who will be our new seminarians?
We are learning that joy is the number one thing attracting men to consider the priesthood as the vocation to which God may in fact be inviting them. A heart opens up to a possibility when it is considered important, a call to something meaningful, and a life full of purpose. With a newly reconstituted Office of Vocations, we have an opportunity to brainstorm new ways to make an ever greater impact in prayerfulness, awareness, and recruitment, harnessing creative energy and using best practices. Here is our mandate:
The duty of fostering vocations rests with the entire Christian community so that the needs of the sacred ministry in the universal Church are provided for sufficiently. This duty especially binds Christian families, educators, and, in a special way, priests, particularly pastors. Diocesan bishops, who most especially are to be concerned for promoting vocations, are to teach the people entrusted to them of the importance of the sacred ministry and of the need for ministers in the Church and are to encourage and support endeavors to foster vocations, especially by means of projects established for that purpose. (canon 233)
A parish may have a statue of Jesus, or another suitable sacred object, which will travel from one family to the next, as the household intentionally prays for vocations during their week. Another way to build on success is to have goals to aim for as a parish. For example:
1.) By [amount of time or date], our goal is to have at least [number] of young men visit a seminary and [number] of young women visit a religious congregation to see what it’s like.
2.) By [amount of time or date], our goal is to have at least [number] of men applying to be a seminarian or [number] of women applying to be a postulant in a religious community.
Furthermore, if a person were designated for each parish to coordinate such efforts, and once people of the parish are approaching others with the question, “Have you even thought you might have a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life,” another avenue would be a group either for intercessors praying for vocations or for these prospects themselves to gather, discuss, and discern together with other mature disciples where they’re at in their journey, as they look more deeply into the possibility of such a calling.
A special word of gratitude needs to be extended to Fr. Michael Chrisman, for his dedicated time of faithful service in this field, whose efforts, expertise, and advice will continue to serve as a bridge to building upon already hard-won successes. Especially impressive is his response to the question, “What role would you like to play as we move forward?” He said,
“I want to focus on building a culture of vocations right here at the parish where I serve.” This is exactly the kind of leadership we need to move forward with positive energy and effective results. May this be an inspiration and a model for each of our parish priests to follow! To this end, please consider looking into the following websites for encouragement, resources, and links for your bulletins, bulletin boards, websites, and all forms of social media:
In the meantime, here is a prayer that could be copied and dispersed among the faithful, including the homebound, for more active spiritual support behind our efforts. The prayer could be offered as groups gather for Mass or Adoration, before council meetings, or at other events, to maintain the spirit of awareness, service, and hope.
Prayer for Vocations
God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, religious, and consecrated persons. Send your Holy Spirit to help us respond generously and courageously to your call. May our community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
In His famous exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis says, “I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world. We have to regard ourselves as sealed, even branded, by this mission of bringing light, blessing, enlivening, raising up, healing and freeing.” This is for all of us, and once it catches our souls and takes root, each and everyone will more readily and enthusiastically pursue the way in which they are being called to live this out, to live as a mission on this earth, which will in turn give us many more men and women courageously stepping forward to give their yes to God’s call for their lives. Through Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Therese, may God bless us, accept our prayers, support our efforts, and enliven our hearts to begin again, with new fervor and creativity, the sacred task of assisting the Good Shepherd as He pursues workers for His vineyard.
Fr. Matthew Wertin