Faithful from throughout the Diocese will once again have an opportunity to help foster vocations to the priesthood. 

For the second time, the diocesan Office of Vocations will host Called By Name, a program that encourages parishioners to prayerfully reflect on the priesthood and then submit names of men whom they feel should be invited to consider a vocation. The program will begin the weekend of Nov. 6-7 and conclude the following weekend Nov. 13-14. The program will also coincide with the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week Nov. 7-13.

Convinced of the effectiveness of the Called By Name premise, Fr. Jason Parzynski, diocesan director of vocations, notes that studies conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate found that 89 percent of the men ordained were first encouraged to consider the priesthood by their parish priest or a fellow parishioner. 

“Called By Name combines both of these two influential groups to reach young men who God may be calling to discern priesthood,” said Fr. Parzynski. He shared that when the first program was held in November, 2019, his office obtained a list of more than 200 young men who were open to receiving more information on the discernment process, a number that was particularly good since only 47 percent of the Diocese’s parishes participated. 

“Of these young men, a majority who had since submitted applications to enter seminary, were a direct result of Called By Name,” he said. 

In preparation for the Called By Name weekend, Fr. Parzynski said that every parish has been provided with materials to help promote the program, including posters to display around the parish campus; pew cards; discernment information to give to young men between the ages of 16 and 40 who believe they may have a vocation, and additional digital resources to help make the execution of the program as easy as possible. 

During this dedicated weekend, pastors are asked to share their own vocation stories with their parishioners and oversee the distribution and collection of the nomination cards. Then, in the coming months, after all of the cards had been reviewed and the names selected, the discerning candidates will be invited to attend events planned by the Vocations Office where they can have conversations about the priesthood and about the fact that their names were specially submitted by parishioners who recognized they possess priestly qualities.

The men will also be encouraged to spend time in prayer, and further discern whether they feel they have a vocation. Fr. Parzynski said that in January, those men who wish to pursue the discernment process will have an opportunity to come together for a Mass celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and reception during which they will meet other priests from around the Diocese and hear their vocation stories as well as get answers to questions or concerns that they may have.