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Summit aims to create a culture of vocations in parishes, schools

vocation summit

The Serra Club of Northwest Indiana, which supports religious vocations through the Diocese of Gary, held its annual Christmas Party for diocesan seminarians and their families,  together with the diocesan vocations staff on Dec. 27 at St. Bridget in Hobart. This year’s event was notable because all 12 current seminarians were in attendance, (front row from left) Collin van Waardenburg, Nicholas Emsing, Nathan Herr, Zachary Glick, Ivan Alatorre, David Martinez, (middle row) Alexander Kouris, William O’Donnell, Robert Budzius, Deacon Jacob McDaniel, Steven Caraher and Robert Ross, and (back row) Father Jon Plavcan (partially obscured), St. Patrick pastor; Father Christopher Stanish, diocesan associate director of vocations and chaplain at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Student Center in Valparaiso; Father David Kime, diocesan vocations director and pastor at St. Francis Xavier in Lake Station; Father Nathaniel Edquist, associate pastor at St. Patrick; and Father Dominic Bertino, senior priest and Serra Club chaplain. (Provided photo)

 

by MARLENE A. ZLOZA

Northwest Indiana Catholic

 

      LAKE STATION – Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are the lifeblood of the Catholic Church.

      That’s why Father David Kime, director of vocations for the Diocese of Gary, is excited to be hosting a Vocation Summit with national experts who will discuss creating a culture of vocations within the parishes of the diocese. This workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at St. Francis Xavier in Lake Station.

      The summit welcomes all Catholics interested in promoting vocations, from those who quietly offer their prayers for the cause to parish leaders who are directly involved in a vocations ministry and fundraising efforts. Specifically invited are clergy, religious, parish staff, Catholic school staff, youth ministers, directors of religious education, Serrans, Knights of Columbus, and others who work with youth. “Anyone who wishes to pray and work for vocations is invited,” noted Father Kime.

      The purpose is to equip Catholic clergy and laity to foster and promote vocations in local schools and parishes to the priesthood and consecrated life. 

      There is no cost to attend, lunch will be served, and to emphasize how important vocations are, Bishop Robert J. McClory, just 11 days after his ordination as the new shepherd of the Diocese of Gary, will open the summit by celebrating a Mass for vocations at 8 a.m. Registration is available at garyvocations.com or, for more information, call 962-8626 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

      “This will be a terrific day to re-energize our diocese to raise up a new generation of men and women to serve the Church,” Father Kime said. “The gathering will reignite our focus on helping young people hear and respond to God’s call.”

      The day’s schedule includes a 9:30–11 a.m. workshop on “Solving the Vocation Crisis” with Sam Alzheimer, founder of Vianney Vocations.

      Following lunch and a group discussion at 11 a.m., Alzheimer will return at 11:45 a.m. to address “Practical Ways to Foster Vocations.”

      Time will be set aside at 12:45 p.m. for participants to create their own vocation plan for their parish or organization, and the workshop will conclude at 1 p.m. with “The Four I’s of Vocations Work: Inspiration, Invitation, Information and Intimacy with Jesus,” presented by Father Brett Brannen.

      Alzheimer has worked with more than 60 vocation directors leading workshops and developing dozens of resources used in parishes and schools. His presentations will focus on realistic ways that clergy and laity can encourage youth to consider the priesthood and consecrated life.

      Attendees will learn how to engage altar servers and teens in youth ministry, how to use the diocese’s K-12 vocation lessons curriculum, how to celebrate special dates such as National Vocation Awareness Week, and how to plan realistic vocation-promoting projects and receive free resources to use in parishes and schools.

      Father Brannen leads retreats nationwide and is considered a powerful and inspirational speaker. His conferences help clergy and laity revive their commitment to effectively promoting vocations in their parishes. He is the author of “To Save a Thousand Souls,” a popular book for men discerning the priesthood. His talks will focus on how to open hearts to the call of God, how to credibly encourage teens and young adults to consider a religious vocation, how to inform by educating young people about vocations and how to cultivate intimacy by forming a deep relationship with Jesus.

      Father Kime said the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors is providing these expert speakers “to teach us how to promote vocations and train priests, deacons and the laity on what to look for in a vocation and how to foster it in a young person. These workshops have proven to be a fruitful way to promote vocations and have produced encouraging results.”

      One group that is dedicated to promoting vocations is the Serra Club of Northwest Indiana.

      The club, which celebrated its 65-year anniversary in 2019, held its annual Christmas Party for diocesan seminarians and their families on Dec. 27 at St. Bridget in Hobart, together with the diocesan vocations staff. “This year’s event was remarkable because we were able to assemble all 12 of the seminarians in one place at one time,” said Timothy M. Swan, the club’s vice president for communications. “We like to think of this assembly of priests-in-formation as ‘The Future of Our Faith in the Gary Diocese.’” 

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