New interactive vocations website invites men to explore priestly calling
When it comes to discerning a call to the priesthood, Rev. Mr. Rjoy Ballacillo has some advice.
“Let God work in you and through you,” said Rev. Mr. Ballacillo, a transitional deacon who is expected to be ordained a priest for the Trenton Diocese later this year.
The seminarian’s discernment story is among the highlights of the Diocese’s new vocations website – godiscallingyou.org – which aims to not only encourage men considering the priesthood, but inform the faithful who may be providing a helping hand along the way.
“One of the best reasons to visit the website is to look at the content, the whole seminary process and what seminary formation is all about,” said Father Jason Parzynski, diocesan director of vocations, encouraging those ages 15-40 to consider a priestly path.
For parents, friends and others, the site can be eye-opening, too. “Seminary is a great mystery to most people, and it’s hard to encourage vocations to those you think might have one if you don’t really know what it’s all about,” he said.
“Think about how much easier it would be if you walked up to a young man in a parish who you thought might have a vocation and were able to say, ‘You have good qualities to be a priest.’ And mention some of the information you came across on the website,” he said.
Among the guidance found on the new site are webpages dedicated to becoming a priest; what life is like as a priest; discernment opportunities; a contact form, and an area dedicated to meeting the Diocese of Trenton’s 17 seminarians, and others.
“Whatever the circumstance of your life, you can be sure of this: God created you, God loves you, and God has something special, something important, something awesome in store for you. Maybe, just maybe, God is inviting you to be one of his priests in the Catholic Church here in the Diocese of Trenton,” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., says in a video on the site’s homepage.
The Bishop’s message, in addition to the seminarians’ firsthand account of their vocation call and seminary life, are among the features Father Jason hopes others will find inviting.
“‘One of the things I have often heard from people in the parishes is, ‘We would like to pray for our seminarians, but we don’t know who they are. With the website, we have not only their name, photo, parish and where they are in seminary, but also a short sentence of advice for the men who are discerning,” Father Jason said.
“There are also four videos of the seminarians talking about their own discernment journey and their experience in seminary. I think that whole page is a unique highlight,” he continued.
Another highlight: A priestly life page, with videos of priests across the Diocese sharing about their lives. Plus, more content will be coming, including a page for parents of young men discerning the priesthood.
“The more information we put out there and stories these men can teach through videos will hopefully give younger men the courage to contact us so that we can begin putting them on a discernment path – whether it leads to seminary or not. Because it should be something you discern, come to a conclusion about and then move forward, one direction or another,” Father Jason said.
To that end, the diocesan Office of Vocations is launching a postcard campaign to help draw people to the website. The postcards are being sent to priests, campus ministers, youth ministers and others on vocation discernment lists. The back of the cards read, “Why Not You? Why Not Now?” and ask those interested to fill out the contact form found at godiscallingyou.org/contact-us.
“We want to know who they are and what we can do to help them in their discernment,” Father Jason said.