by Father Scott Wallisch
“So what exactly do you do as vocation director?”
It is a question asked to me periodically by the laity . . . and the archbishop. I wish I could answer that I merely sit in my office and have walking through my door a steady stream of good, solid candidates for the priesthood and religious life. It does not quite work that way.
Instead, like all of our priests, my day-to-day work contains much variety. I do need to spend time in my office, going through applications and other paperwork. The heart of my work, though, tends to be elsewhere.
My role as vocation director includes being a de facto chaplain for our youth ministry, including spending time at youth group nights, rallies, retreats, conferences, mission trips and camp. I also plug into our high schools, supporting our great chaplains, faculty and staff as they foster vocations. I spend time on our local college campuses, running vocation discernment groups and offering vocational counseling.
I coordinate with dedicated volunteers throughout the area in building a culture of vocations. In this same vein, I am slowly working my way around the archdiocese to preach at every parish on vocations.
My time is most fruitfully spent, though, in one-on-one meetings with young discerners. These conversations often give me an opportunity to be inspired by incredible young people.
Most people, though, are not at the point where they feel comfortable scheduling a meeting with me to talk about the sometimes scary prospect of a priestly or religious vocation. It might seem like a huge step to meet with a vocation director. There may be a fear that I will make them fill out an application on the spot.
Therefore, my office hosts nonintimidating vocation events throughout the year to help our young people consider the priesthood and religious life. Several happen soon.
On Oct. 9, from 2 – 5 p.m. at Queen of the Holy Rosary in Overland Park, we will have Project Andrew for young men, high school age and older.
On Oct. 26, from 5 – 8 p.m. at Church of the Ascension in Overland Park, we will sponsor the Ultimate Vocation Fair. Young men and women of all ages — and their parents — can meet vocation directors from nearly 100 religious orders.
On Oct. 30, our other Project Andrew takes place at Most Pure Heart in Topeka from 4 -7 p.m. And on Nov. 12 and 13, we will take high school junior and senior men to Conception Seminary for a “Come and See” retreat.
There is a lot happening, but I cannot personally invite every youth to attend. So, I am deputizing you as an honorary vocation director. Please invite the young people around you to attend these opportunities to better know God’s great plan for their lives.
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