Vocations: Answering God’s call Print this post

Annual collection ensures a future with priests, religious

by Bob Reddy (Editor, Florida Catholic Venice Edition)

FLORIDA CATHOLIC – One week each year the eyes the Catholic Church is focused on the men and women who are seeking a life in the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. National Vocation Awareness Week is Jan. 9-14 is dedicated to encouraging men and women of all ages to consider a life in service to God and the Church.

A collection to support Vocations in the Diocese of Venice is held the weekend of Jan. 8 to coincide with the National Vocations Awareness Week. This collection supports the work of the Vocations Office and helps cover the costs of educating the 17 men currently attending seminary for the Diocese of Venice.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane said that supporting the men who are studying for the Diocese today ensures the Catholic Church in Southwest Florida will have a bright future as these men will be providing the Sacraments for future generations.

The Vocations Office of the Diocese of Venice works year-round to encourage people to answer God’s call in their life by creating a culture of vocation in families, parishes and schools. The work helps the Diocese nurture an environment of discipleship, commitment to daily prayer, spiritual conversion, growth in virtue, participation in the Sacraments, and service in community.

Father Cory Mayer, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Venice, said young people find great joy when they answer the call to a vocation. To encourage young men to consider a call to priesthood, Father Mayer recently started a new monthly discernment group called “Quo Vadis” (Where are you going?) in different areas of the Diocese.

The meetings include spending time before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament as well as open talks with other men who are discerning God’s will in their life. The first gatherings have proven very successful with a bright future ahead.

Also promising, was having a group of 10 young men join Father for a “Come and See” weekend Mayer in November at St. John Vianney Seminary in Miami. Father Mayer said the men enjoyed the opportunity to meet, talk and pray with active seminarians. One man commented: “It was a tremendous experience and I cannot wait to do it again.”

The 17 men studying for the priesthood for the Diocese come from varied backgrounds and are in various levels in their studies at four different seminaries, but each has one goal in mind – discerning God’s call to the priesthood.

Two of the men, Casey Jones and Matthew Grady, are closer to that goal than the others. They were ordained to the transitional diaconate in 2011. The pair is expected to be ordained to the priesthood in 2012.

During the past three years, seven men have been ordained to the priesthood and are currently serving at parishes within the Diocese of Venice, which reaffirms that the Diocese will continue to be served by dedicated priests for years to come.

As an example of how one Diocesan seminarian is making progress, Charles Ruoff, was recently instituted to the Ministry of Acolyte during a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., on Dec. 7.

Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, celebrated the Mass and instituted the new acolyte. Acolytes are charged with assisting at the celebration of the Eucharist, purifying the sacred vessels and the distribution of Holy Communion.

Ruoff, 54, is originally from Manahawkin, N.J., and previously worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “I am delighted to reach the stage of Acolyte Institution in my ultimate quest for priestly ordination. I feel very blessed and look forward to serving God and the congregation more intimately in my new liturgical role.”

The annual Vocations Collection goes a long way to helping educate men like Ruoff and supporting the work of Father Mayer in encouraging new men and women to seek a consecrated life.

Supporting the Vocations Collection is also a way to encourage the men and women who are pursuing their chosen vocation, Bishop Dewane added. “The support they receive goes a long way in reinforcing the love and prayers we send each of them as they continue on their path.”

For more information about pursuing a path to vocations or to support the Vocations Office, please call 941-483-9543.

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