Vocation: Opening Ears to the Call

by Kathleen Glavich, SND on October 30, 2019

in Blogs

Jesus calls the first apostles

National Vocation Awareness Week is November 3-9. As a former vocation director for my community and for the Diocese of Cleveland, I can attest that promoting vocations is hard work! But it doesn’t depend on individuals who do it as a full-time ministry. Parishes can be powerhouses for stirring up vocations. I’ve just read a book that is chockfull of ideas for a parish to foster vocations: Hundredfold. It is written by Rhonda Gurenewald, who founded “Vocation Ministry” to train people how to create a culture of vocations at their parishes. Following is the press release about the book and the work of Vocation Ministry. You might pass on the news to your pastor!

Ministry Equips Parishes to Promote Vocations, Provides Saving Grace for Dioceses

Vocation Ministry Has Equipped More Than 6,000 Parish Vocation Promoters and Groups Nationwide, Spurring Uptick in Vocations in Some Dioceses

Houston, TX, October 7, 2019 – Parish-based vocation ministries are springing up all over the U.S. thanks to the efforts and resources of Vocation Ministry, a non-profit established in 2015 to equip dioceses and parishes to promote vocations through their signature Hundredfold workshops offered in English and Spanish. Vocation Ministry has trained thousands of parishioners and priests, representing over 3,000 parishes in 42 dioceses, on how to create a culture of vocations at their parishes so that men and women can more easily answer God’s call.

Since its founding in 2015, Vocation Ministry has become a driving force for promoting vocations in North America. Through their hands-on Hundredfold Workshops, Vocation Ministry focuses on establishing and sustaining parish-based vocation ministries to create a vocation-friendly environment that inspires adults and children to consider a supernatural call to the priesthood, consecrated life, or to sacramental marriage.

“Most people don’t realize the impact that an active parish vocations ministry can have,” said Rhonda Gruenewald, founder of Vocations Ministry.  “A survey done in 2017 in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston found that 80 percent of vocations came from the 20 percent of parishes which had active and ongoing vocations ministries. So, these ministries matter, and they are producing fruit.”

Gruenewald cites the Diocese of Grand Island, NE as an example of how these active ministries can revive vocations. “This middle American diocese covers 42,000 square miles with a Catholic population just over 56,000, said Gruenewald. “In 2015, when Vocation Ministry presented its first workshop, the diocese had one seminarian in formation. When Vocation Ministry returned in 2019 to offer a follow-up workshop, the diocese had nine seminarians in formation!”

“Some of our parishioners attended the first workshop,” remembers Glenda, a parishioner who   attended the workshop. “Afterward, they returned with a new attitude and excitement about vocations, and many began implementing what they learned from Vocation Ministry across the dioceses.”

Shortly after its founding, Vocation Ministry published Hundredfold: A Guide to Parish Vocation Ministry to provide information, activities, and inspiration to anyone starting, reviving, or refreshing a vocation ministry, and to help those ministries thrive. It was designed to inspire parishes to get involved in vocation work, to help new ministries start strong by providing a clear guide to the nuts and bolts of the ministry and to reinvigorate long-standing committees with fresh ideas that attract new workers to Christ’s vineyard. Since its first publishing, Hundredfold has sold more than 13,000 copies. Additional resources include the Hundredfold Resource Guidewww.VocationMinistry.com and active social media accounts for those discerning a vocation.

In April 2017, Sembrando Semillas, a Spanish edition of the book Hundredfold was published, and provides additional materials specifically related to predominantly Spanish-speaking parishes. The website, workshops, and presentations are available in Spanish as well.

What People Are Saying About Vocation Ministry:

“It is in the family where the seeds of a vocation are first developed and it is in our parish communities where vocations to serve God are encouraged. Every parish has a responsibility to cultivate a culture of vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and sacramental marriage. Thank you to Vocation Ministry for providing resources for parishes so that we all can answer God’s call.

-Most Reverend Thomas A. Daley

Bishop  of Spokane

“Without our Catholic parishes instilling a deep appreciation of religious and priestly vocations, young people may not hear this divine invitation.  Good vocations flourish in good families – and good families flourish in good parishes.  Thank you, Rhonda, for the inspiration of Hundredfold!      

-Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP, Vocation Director

Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Ann Arbor, MI

“Vocation Ministry offered effective workshops to our priests and deacons, inspiring them to invite over 220 lay people from parishes and schools across the diocese to her follow-up workshop for laity, where she trained them how to begin and sustain parish vocation ministries.  As Vocations Director, I am very aware that the work of promoting vocations is the work of the whole Church and is too big a job for any one person or group of people.  I now have a whole army of people across the diocese who are sustaining our work in prayer, actively finding ways to promote a culture of vocations in their local communities, and enthusiastic in getting the message about our vocation efforts and events out to our young people.  

Fr. Matthew Mason, Vocation Director

Diocese of Manchester, NH

For more information about Vocation Ministry, visit www.vocationministry.com.

To request additional information about Vocation Ministryand/or to schedule an interview with Rhonda Gruenewald, please contact Carrie Kline at carriek@revolutionizingmissions.com.

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