For Vocation Directors

#19 Parish Vocation Ministries

Summary

Parish vocation ministries are marvelous entities—but they are not self-sustaining.

Simply establishing a parish vocation ministry does not guarantee its continuation as a viable part of a Church-wide vocation effort.

The act of maintaining a given parish ministry is largely a matter of retaining a sufficient number of people to staff and support it.  But there are also other substantial elements involved therein—such as understanding and properly assigning roles, keeping high ethical standards, maintaining professional working relationships with parishes and dioceses and religious orders, maintaining morale, and more.

A variety of material is available to help with maintaining an existing parish vocation ministry.

 

Program Outline

    • Once started, a parish vocation ministry must be maintained
    • Maintaining such a ministry is largely a matter of retaining a sufficient number of people to staff it and support it
    • But other substantial elements are involved
      • Maintaining morale
      • Establishing efficient organization
      • Keeping high ethical standards
      • Understanding and properly assigning roles
      • Maintaining professional working relationships with…
        • Parishes
        • Dioceses
        • Religious orders
    • Variety of materials available re:  maintain an existing parish vocation ministry

 

Implementation

Serrans / Volunteers

  • Supporting vocations ministry operations
  • Conducting surveys of group members, leading input sessions to maintain vitality of group

 

Program History, Development, and Additional Resources

“Everybody has a vocation and vocation ministry is about helping others to discern their gifts, to make decisions about how to develop and express those gifts and to do so in ways that they know to be true to themselves.”

       -Br. Julian McDonald, cfc AO

Starting a parish vocation ministry takes no small amount of effort and organization.  But establishing a parish vocation ministry does not guarantee its continuation as a viable part of a Church-wide vocation effort.

It could be said that maintaining success in a parish vocation ministry is, to some degree, a matter of how effectively a given ministry 'walks with' both those discerning their vocations (men and women) and the entities (dioceses and religious orders) towards which those doing the discerning are drawn.

Of course, actually maintaining—that is, to keep it moving forward as a viable part of a Church-wide vocation effort—a given parish ministry is largely a matter of retaining a sufficient number of people to staff and support the ministry and its efforts.  But there are also other substantial elements involved therein—such as understanding and properly assigning roles, keeping high ethical standards, maintaining professional working relationships with parishes and dioceses and religious orders, maintaining morale, and more.  General advice from experts appears to typically fall into two categories:  reminders—e.g., that maintaining a parish vocations ministry takes perseverance—and words of caution—e.g., don't overextend resources, including the volunteers on the team.  Some parishes with limited number of volunteers find that sponsoring two events a year and scheduling limited meetings to handle those two events may be worthwhile.

Materials are available to help those in need of assistance, and, indeed, inspiration in maintaining a parish vocation ministry.  A selection of these materials follows in the 'additional details' section below.

 

Other Resources

See ideas, recommendations, sample announcements and letters, prayer books, and more at a few of the schools, parishes, and dioceses which have adopted a Traveling Chalice/Crucifix Program:

Extensively detailed website connected to author Rhonda Gruenewald—who wrote the prominent vocation ministry book Hundredfold:  A Guide to Parish Vocation Ministry; it contains many resources on how to start and continue a parish vocation ministry effort.  This book is recommended by Church leaders; the book is also available in Spanish under the title Sembrando Semillas (available via the second of the links listed below)

►  https://www.vocationministry.com/

►  https://www.vianneyvocations.com/product/sembrando-semillas/

Instructional video (just under twenty-two minutes in length) in which Rhonda Gruenewald, author of the prominent vocation ministry book Hundredfold:  A Guide to Parish Vocation Ministry, explains both
how to start a new parish vocations ministry and
how to reenergize an already established parish vocations ministry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq_YZO1-gUQ

PDF of a document from the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) called Code of Ethics for Vocation Ministry.  This is a comprehensive document that will be helpful to all involved in vocation ministry:  it provides a detailed analysis of critical elements of vocations work, including preferred attributes, professional competence, and responsibilities of the vocation minister; responsibilities of religious leadership; responsibilities of the membership of the religious institute; record keeping; confidentiality; expectations of the candidate in the discernment process; and more:

►  https://nrvc.net/ckeditor_assets/attachments/3792/nrvc_code_of_ethics.pdf

Article from Western New York Catholic (official newspaper of the Diocese of Buffalo, NY) written by a parish priest who'd recently transitioned in duty within his diocese to that of vocations director.  Good insights about the role of the laity in fostering vocations and how their collaborative efforts can make a big difference in the effort to find “workers for the harvest”:

https://www.wnycatholic.org/news/article/featured/2016/02/24/101363/vocations-is-a-ministry-for-all

Article from The Anchor (the official newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River, MA) which details an innovative, diocese-wide approach to attracting potential volunteers for vocations ministry:  a Parish Vocation Ministry Orientation and Reflection Prayer Day.

►  http://www.anchornews.org/news/march-2017/03-24-17-2.html

Vocations page of the Diocese of Arlington (VA); good resource that could provide inspiration to parish vocation ministries regarding a good model for vocations website layout/ease of information access:

►  http://www.arlingtondiocese.org/Vocations/A-call-to-be-holy/

Article from The Monitor (newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton, N.J.) on the formation of a still-blossoming parish vocations ministry in a local parish:

►  http://www.trentonmonitor.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=88&ArticleID=7484

Article from Catholic New York about efforts to create a culture of vocations in the Archdiocese of New York (NY), including advice from a visiting author in the closing paragraphs:

►  http://cny.org/stories/Vocation-Summit-Should-Be-the-Start-of-Something-Good,13180

SPARK: Built by Serrans for Vocation Directors.
A service of Serra International, United States Council, in collaboration with the NCDVD.

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