Advice for vocations committee guy


I have been asked to give advice to a man who was put in charge of a new vocations committee (I am under the impression it is just for priestly vocations).

Trouble is, I have no idea what to tell him to do. I have mountains of “don’ts”, don’t hire a rock band to play at a new Friday night teen Mass, don’t exchange the organ for drums, etc. Trying to be “cool” through things like this is exactly what almost drove me away from the faith when I was younger, I have a horribly vivid memory of people around me singing “Our God is an Awesome God” with hands in the air and playing ice-breaker activities at Church activities shudder.

The positive things I’ve thought of are to start a Traditional Latin Mass, get books like “Imitation of Christ” and “Story of a Soul” for CCD kids, getting cassocks and surplices for altar boys, using only boys for altar serving, and to get CCD to pray the Rosary together.

Any other ideas?

Also try to understand that this is especially hard since most of the parish is older, the younger kids, especially those in the ideal age for entering the seminary, aren’t very active, very few attend weekly Mass.


I’m not sure what age range you’re aiming at here since there isn’t really an “ideal” age for entering the seminary. I would note this though - a vocation can be a scary thing at times and it’s important to allow those who feel they might be called to ease into it slowly without any pressure and without having to put their head above the parapet (at least not straight away). So things like TLM, Imitation of Christ and Story of a Soul may be too intense at least at the beginning. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that it’s done well with the proper investment of time and resources.



How about stressing getting in the habit of weekly Confession?
That used to be the norm before V II.


having started a voc comm, we were told that that the priest himself was responsible for talking to the single men of the parish.

is there a diocesan effort underway? our committees were ‘feeders’ into diocesan events.

our parish secretary made a phone list based on the demographics of the parish. other committee members got on the phone and made calls.

just have adoration. putting them one-on-one with jesus hostia is what voc dir do anyway.



Also stress daily mass and adoration, First Friday and First Saturday devotions.


Honestly, some of the things that you mentioned are in the purview of the pastor. You can suggest that the pastor use a TLM, but many pastors today don’t know Latin well enough to have one. In addition, it is the pastor’s call if altar servers can only be boys (with no girls allowed). In this case, the pastor has to also take in logistical needs into account. In many parishes, more girls than boys want to be altar servers, and if only boys were used, there wouldn’t be enough altar servers for all the Masses.

The most important thing for you to do is to remind the vocation director to not only think about priestly vocations: his duty needs to be to help people realize vocations to not only the priesthood, but also to religious life and the permanent diaconate, as well as to help strengthen the vocations of marriage and non-ordained, non-religious single life.

Anyway, though, one of the things I would suggest is to include “vocation talks” at Confirmation retreats. This way, the students in the Confirmation program can learn about different vocations. Maybe invite people from different religious communities to speak about their vocations once a month after Mass.


You could suggest that he ask for additional advice from someone with a little broader perspective.:wink:



PLEASE recommend the committee take the time to encourage all vocations, not just priestly. My diocese has a vocation portion of their website that focuses mostly on the priesthood. I’m here to tell you that there are individuals with non-priestly vocations that would have loved to have advice addressed to them as well (myself included). Only focussing on the priesthood gives the unintentional message that “we only care about your vocation b/c we need more priests.” That’s definitely not the message we want to send.


Right - attitudes such as this are a prime factor in clericalism. Everyone has a vocation. And we have saints from every vocation. St. Teresa de Avila was a lay (non-religious) single woman who later became a 3rd Order Fransiscan. St. Thomas More was a married man and father. St. Lawrence was a permanent deacon. St. Monica was a married woman and mother.

Yes, we need to foster vocations to the priesthood - but we need to foster all vocations and help people understand that sainthood is possible through any vocation.


:rolleyes: I’ll be sure to tell this man to be very “anti-clerical,” (as to oppose the wicked idea of clericalism) then, lol.

But really, this thread is supposed to be about ideas, please help with that, not discussing this. I understand what you are saying, but I really don’t think that targeting young men to get them thinking about seminary harms married women at all.


hi, are your still asking for ideas?
if i understood correctly-perhaps, the message must reach the audience of age;
well in the past-i have seen some good things and given my perception, all-be-flawed,as a younger man-
i had once participated in a program in my diocese-this was the called by name program;(a program to discern a vocation) i remember-some one ‘nominating’ my name, as per my church, st patrick’s, then it went to the bishop; i got a letter from him…this made me think…the program…would offer the idea that there are introverts and extroverts-and the church needs all types, there was testing-perhaps more to realize who you were-there are tests, not too invasive…just to get you to think…there was a booklet…apparentlly costing a lot of investment, it need not have; i remember a very good story-a personified tea cup, which went through forming an fire before it was ready; i related this in a positive way from such a simple story; a program with a sponsor, each gave out a planting pot with seeds in the called by name program, to represent spiritual growth…what went wrong was-my college debt-you can’t be a monk or join an order with debt; what did i do; yet take out more college loans…i don’t really know why there was a good cop/bad cop review of the managment over this program (I say this as how to avoid it); i dropped out from intimidation of a sister from an order-very scary women who viewed (as i know today by having been a public school teacher) who viewed learning through the lens of behaviorism-everything is behavioristic-i saw her as intimidating-very strange in hindsight/ the bishop at the time-stood for morality among the young- but today can be found on a web site for removed priests…as he had been accused of child abuse…very odd paradox…to sum up, there can be programs with books with stories, plants to grow, names nominated, letters written, testing,perhaps a review of what college debt can harm…personally, i think people need priests-a crisis prevails in people as my example shows…lastly, prayer would be the answer: i quickly mention that i have an idea for devotion-call it a vocation chaplet-pray it on the regular rosary; expand the third luminous, Jesus’ ministries, choose those having to do with prayer or fishers of men-for instance, i like to meditate per praying a whole decade on the scene of jesus near the shore, while the nets tear; or reviewing-mary magdeline breaking the alabaster jar/she washes jesus feet/i pray these in a ignatian contemplation attempt of using imagery; so i would send in refering to Mother Mary as the best fisher of men…(or those of age to choose the seminary might find Her help); there is an option to cynacism (even to the event that society seems to be in a downward spiral-isn’t it the most difficlut time for young person to grow up?)-while most forum posts note a degree of lonliness/still the Holy Spirit heals that lonliness with great love…and calls men to be men of Christ …if you have any questions on that vocational chaplet-feel free to reply by private email on this forum. thx patrick


No, but refusing to respect other vocations harms your ability to get young men to look at the priesthood. Imagine being a young man who is receiving the encouragement towards the priesthood that your council offers. This young man might naturally wonder why people are reaching out to him, in particular. Do they really think that I might be called to this? Then he realizes that his best friend is a young woman discerning religious life and that the parish could care less about her vocation. Suddenly he’s going to feel like your interest in his vocation is only based on the need for priests.

So, addressing other vocations as well IS a suggestion for how to make your committee more successful. Not to mention, it will be nice for the young women in your parish who need help and support in their vocations as well.

That’s my opinion anyway.


Promoting Eucharistic adoration, the Rosary, and the prayer of the divine office are all excellent ideas. Bring back the Sodality of Our Lady, and all sorts of confraternities. See to it that all are invested in the Brown Scapular. Unbelievable graces can come through sacramentals and through confraternities.

A brief presentation of the Spiritual Exercises also might be in order, with recommendation that all work with a spiritual director. Know aforehand of those priests in the area that would be obliging.

As far as vocations to the priesthood go, nothing beats altar service for arousing an interest in that–particularly in the Traditional Latin Mass due to its solemn formality. Indeed, the more priests we have who can say the TLM, the better. You are right in thinking this; the young with whom I’ve worked have come to love the TLM so much that they will only go to the NO when they’re gravely prevented from going to the TLM. Of course, cassocks and surplices and an all-male team of servers are de rigueur there.

And it should go without saying that frequent recourse to the sacraments should be encouraged. If your parish’s priests hear confessions regularly for only a half-hour or an hour weekly, encourage them to do so more often, perhaps before or after CCD classes so more young might easily confess.

  1. Think long term. If teens and 20-somethings aren’t attending mass, do something to bridge the gap and keep them engaged from age 12-25. One good example which I work with is Conquest Clubs.
  2. Do all you can to foster a deep spiritual life because that is where vocations will be born. The focus needs to be on everyone growing so those who have the call will discover it. Some examples: adoration, bible study, serving others in Christian charity, fellowship, a library of spiritual classes, a talk introducing St John of the Cross, etc. etc.
  3. Build a team. Don’t be a super hero and burn yourself out.


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