Vocation campaign coming to a parish near you
The diocesan vocations office may be heading out in a dozen different directions, but they all finish in the same spot.
“Our goal is to find the [men and women] who think they may be called,” said Rhett Williams, administrative assistant.
The latest leg of their campaign is the weekend parish visit.
Armed with information and gifts, Father Jeffrey F. Kirby, vicar for vocations, and Williams have visited a different church every weekend since August.
Each time, Father Kirby celebrates all the Masses — English, Spanish and Latin — and leads youth activities. They also set a booth up and Williams or another volunteer speak to parishioners after church and hand out items such as prayer cards, key chains and hacky sack balls.
So far, they have visited about six parishes and hope to continue throughout the year.
Father Raymond J. Carlo, pastor of St. Michael in Garden City, said his parish is very involved with the vocation effort and was pleased to host Father Kirby.
“It was very effective; a good shot in the arm,” Father Carlo said.
Williams said they have already seen a traffic increase on their website and Facebook page, with people showing a special fondness for the “like” button.
“The main part of parish visits … is informing the faithful that the church is active and searching for those who are interested in religious life — men and women,” he said. “It’s all part of a larger plan that the vocations office is putting into action.”
That plan includes a number of brainstorming initiatives, including discernment groups and seminary visits.
Williams said he led a small group of high school and college students from the discernment group in Aiken to visit Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas recently.
A lot of people don’t know what a seminary is like, so the trips are a chance to discover that it’s a lot like other colleges, “but in a Christian atmosphere,” he said.
The group shared pizza with the diocesan seminarians, went to Mass and met the school rector. They also attended a Rangers baseball game and spent some time learning about the area, both on and off campus.
Father Kirby said they want to provide opportunities for the community to be involved with discernment and open their eyes to the possibility of religious life.