Tools for Vocation Directors

Tools For Serrans

Igniting the faithful starts with a SPARK!

serra international logoWelcome to the Serra Promotion and Resource Kit (SPARK!) Brought to you by the U.S. Council of Serra International, SPARK is a free online collection of best-practices tools in religious vocations ministry—as curated from parishes, dioceses, and religious orders around North America.

Created by a group of experienced laypeople with a longstanding devotion to the Roman Catholic Church, SPARK covers everything from discernment retreat agendas to vocations talks to using social media in vocations promotion…and much more!

Whether you’re recruiting potential priests, sisters, deacons, nuns, or brothers, you can find a helping hand right here. Nearly two dozen topics are covered. For each topic, you will find:
• An executive summary
• An outline
• A section on the history and development of the topic
• Downloadable resources and templates
• Links to additional resources
• A place to share your comments, questions, and ideas

Need to quickly print something encapsulating our SPARK resource?

Click here to download the 7 Greats a sampler of our most popular and effective tools.

Spark StarIf you are new to the vocations ministry, SPARK will help you build a strong, solid foundation. If you are a veteran, SPARK will give you more resources with which to further your ministry. Just click on the ‘TOOLS’ tab above to get started—or use the search bar at the top of this page to enter keywords and find what you’re looking for.

Thank you for visiting, and thank you for your efforts to build up the Church!

A Short History of

. . . your digital resource for effective religious vocations activities.
In 2016, Greg Schwietz was president-elect of the U.S. Council of Serra International. He was also a personal friend of Father Ralph O’Donnell, a priest from his home in Omaha, Nebraska, who was then serving as the executive director of the Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations for the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Father O’Donnell shared a need with Greg that had been expressed by the bishops for a central digital resource for vocation directors and local parishes. Those conversations lead to the idea that Serra could help with their problem. Through coordination with Father O’Donnell and Mrs. Rose Sullivan, Executive Director of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD), the idea of Serra SPARK was born.

With an initial financial gift to the U.S. Council from a supportive Serra friend to assist with the development of the Serra SPARK website, the project was off and running. In later years, the Serra International Foundation has also been a great supporter of the Serra SPARK initiative and has provided funds for its maintenance and continued development.

In the summer of 2017, the Serra Spark website ( was released as a new resource at the annual NCDVD convention. Serrans were gratified by the positive reactions from vocation directors and church leaders. As one new vocation director commented, “This is great! Could you add St. Andrew and Miriam Dinners? I would like to implement that activity in my diocese, but I would like to learn more about them.” Within 30 days a new tool was added to the SPARK website that fully explained the two popular programs. Over time, the directors were delighted that the on-line resources could be easily located, downloaded, branded for their diocese and used locally.

Later that year, the first hard copy version of five of the most popular vocation activities (known as tools) was introduced as the “Serra SPARK Sampler.” This past year, the Sampler was updated under the direction of Vice President of Vocations, Moira Quinn Leite, and converted into a beautiful and usable booklet called The 7 Greats. The new booklet was expanded to include new content and seven of most popular vocation tools, and it is used frequently at both the parish and diocesan levels. Concurrently with the publication of the 7 Greats, the revision and updating of the Serra SPARK website was undertaken. Released in 2024, this new website includes many new and revised tools and the addition of Serra SPARK Helpers—downloadable materials for the tools that may be used directly or customized for local use.

Bishop Burbidge
Bishop Burbidge
Bishop Burbidge
Bishop Burbidge
Bishop Burbidge
Bishop Burbidge

Father Ralph O’Donnell, his successors at the USCCB, Mrs. Rose Sullivan and vocations directors around the country have frequently expressed their delight with Serra SPARK. New vocation directors, parish vocation ministries and Serrans around the world have continue to use the Serra SPARK website to help them effectively promote religious vocations. As Serrans, we are proud of the fact that our organized efforts provide an important, useful, and hopefully long-lasting resource—Serra SPARK

How to use this website . . .

This website is divided into sections for each of the vocation tools that may be accessed through the “Tools” header at the top of the page. Videos for vocation promotion are accessed via the “Videos” header at the top of the page. The “7 Greats” header provides links to the most popular and effective tools.

Once you arrive at the tool page, you will find a description of the tool, a short history and the guidance for applying to tool in your diocese. Parish or club. A resources section is provided for each tool. It provides “References” to guide you with case studies and examples. There is also a set of “Serra SPARK Helpers.” They are materials that may be downloaded and either used directly or customized for your specific application.

Keep in touch with SPARK!

Would you like to know more about Serra, and be the first to know when we’ve added to our SPARK Toolkit? Sign up here and we’ll keep you in the loop.