Planting the seeds: Growing a culture of vocations
Planting the seeds
Growing a culture of vocations
By Father Tyler J. Bandura
Director of the Office of Priestly Vocations
I am so thankful to everyone for their interest in vocations, and thank you for praying for our seminarians.
The term “vocation” is derived from the Latin vocare, which means “to call.”
These young men have been called to start a special journey, but there is always a need for more to make that journey.
It is really important to plant the seeds of faith to harvest the next generation of priests for the church. It’s our job to raise that awareness.
That’s why, in the Diocese of Greensburg, creating a culture of vocations is extremely important — raising that awareness that everyone has been called by God to something specific, whether that’s the priesthood, the consecrated life, the single state
or the sacrament of marriage.
We encourage each parish to create a task force to focus on ways that vocations can be promoted, a task that belongs to every single person of the faith community, not just the priests.
We have to make sure we do our work to help that seed of faith that’s been planted into everyone to nurture and to grow into what God has in store for that person.
There are various groups that meet throughout the academic year to help promote vocations:
• Jeremiah Days — for middle school-aged boys and their parents
• Exploring God’s Call — a high school discernment group
• Melchizedek Project — a program for young adults
These programs are wonderful opportunities for that individual who is thinking about the priesthood. Maybe they’re not certain that’s what they’re being called to, but they’re open to the reality that God might be calling them.
It’s that seed of faith that’s given to the young person at baptism that must be nurtured and protected and taken care of just as a seed is taken care of as it’s planted in the ground.
It’s that work that we’re doing right now, the work that was trusted to us of nurturing these vocations that will bear great fruit in the future, that will bring forth a seed creating a great harvest for the future life of our Church and for the faith of the members.
Seminarians in summer service
One of the key experiences seminarians go through is a summer assignment, where they learn what life is like within a parish.
“The summer assignments are very important,” said Seminarian Craig Alexander. “We get to work with the priests and spend time with them to see what their life is like on a daily basis.”
Alexander and fellow Seminarian David
Slusarick are both assigned to St. Anne Parish, Rostraver, for the summer.
“This is what I signed up for. This is what I want to do,” said Slusarick.
Slusarick has been involved in the altar servers master class at the parish, providing instruction to new servers.
“Serving is a great way to plant the seed for a potential vocation or to at least think about the way God is calling them to serve in their life,” he said.
CAPTION: Seminarians are involved in all aspects of parish life. Clockwise from top left: Deacon Christopher Pujol celebrates a baptism at St. Mary (Nativity) Parish, Uniontown; Craig Alexander demonstrates an incensor at St. Anne Parish, Rostraver; Kevin Richardson, left, and Andrew Hamilton play a game with children during Vacation Bible School at St. Agnes Parish, North Huntingdon; and David Slusarick explains the processional cross at St. Anne Parish.