Maintaining a Parish Vocations Ministry

Have a parish vocation ministry that needs some wind in its sails? The materials found in this tool can help!

Serra Participation

  • Supporting vocations ministry operations
  • Conducting surveys of group members, leading input sessions to maintain vitality of group

Summary

Parish vocation ministries are marvelous entities—but they are not self-sustaining.  This Tool is a follow-on to Tool 10, “Parish Vocation Ministry,” which provides guidance for the establishment of parish vocation ministries in conjunction with Ignite Workshops.

Simply establishing a parish vocation ministry does not guarantee its continuation as a viable part of a Church-wide vocation effort.

The act of maintaining a given parish ministry is largely a matter of retaining a sufficient number of people to staff and support it.  But there are also other substantial elements involved therein—such as understanding and properly assigning roles, keeping high ethical standards, maintaining professional working relationships with parishes and dioceses and religious orders, maintaining morale, and more.

A variety of materials are available to help with maintaining an existing parish vocation ministry.

Central to the support of a parish vocation ministry is the support of the Pastor and his staff.  It is imperative that the committee leadership coordinate vocation activities with the pastor.  The vocation committee supports the pastor and is only a part of his parish ministry

Program Outline

  • Once started, a parish vocation ministry must be maintained
  • Maintaining such a ministry is largely a matter of retaining a sufficient number of people to staff it and support it
  • But other substantial elements are involved
  • Variety of materials available re:  maintain an existing parish vocation ministry

Any Time

Lead Time 2-3 Months

f

Medium Effort

Medium Cost

Program History and Development

“Everybody has a vocation and vocation ministry is about helping others to discern their gifts, to make decisions about how to develop and express those gifts and to do so in ways that they know to be true to themselves.”

-Br. Julian McDonald, cfc AO

Starting a parish vocation ministry takes no small amount of effort and organization.  But establishing a parish vocation ministry does not guarantee its continuation as a viable part of a Church-wide vocation effort.

It could be said that maintaining success in a parish vocation ministry is, to some degree, a matter of how effectively a given ministry ‘walks with’ both those discerning their vocations (men and women) and the entities (dioceses and religious orders) towards which those doing the discerning are drawn.

Of course, actually maintaining—that is, to keep it moving forward as a viable part of a Church-wide vocation effort—a given parish ministry is largely a matter of retaining a sufficient number of people to staff and support the ministry and its efforts.  But there are also other substantial elements involved therein—such as understanding and properly assigning roles, keeping high ethical standards, maintaining professional working relationships with parishes and dioceses and religious orders, maintaining morale, and more.  General advice from experts appears to typically fall into two categories:  reminders—e.g., that maintaining a parish vocations ministry takes perseverance—and words of caution—e.g., don’t overextend resources, including the volunteers on the team.  Some parishes with limited number of volunteers find that sponsoring two events a year and scheduling limited meetings to handle those two events may be worthwhile.

Materials are available to help those in need of assistance, and, indeed, inspiration in maintaining a parish vocation ministry.  A selection of these materials follows in the sections below.

Resources

Reference Materials:

From Vianney Vocations:
Booklets
Brochures
Books
Bundles
Vocation “Bible School”
Vocation Worksheets
Vocation Lessons – A Curriculum Supplement

PDF of a document from the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) called Code of Ethics for Vocation Ministry.  This is a comprehensive document that will be helpful to all involved in vocation ministry:  it provides a detailed analysis of critical elements of vocations work, including preferred attributes, professional competence, and responsibilities of the vocation minister; responsibilities of religious leadership; responsibilities of the membership of the religious institute; record keeping; confidentiality; expectations of the candidate in the discernment process; and more:
NRVC: Code of Ethics for Vocation Ministry [pdf]

Article from Western New York Catholic (official newspaper of the Diocese of Buffalo, NY) written by a parish priest who’d recently transitioned in duty within his diocese to that of vocations director.  Good insights about the role of the laity in fostering vocations and how their collaborative efforts can make a big difference in the effort to find “workers for the harvest”:
Western New York Catholic Article

Vocations page of the Diocese of Arlington (VA); good resource that could provide inspiration to parish vocation ministries regarding a good model for vocations website layout/ease of information access:
Diocese of Arlington (VA) Vocations

Article from Catholic New York about efforts to create a culture of vocations in the Archdiocese of New York (NY), including advice from a visiting author in the closing paragraphs:
Catholic New York Article

Serra SPARK Helpers©

Web page of U.S. Council’s 7 Greats Serra Promotion and Resource Kit — an easy way to start and maintain parish ministries with clear, concise directions on how to carry out essential activities:
Serra 7 Greats

““Let us face the vocations challenge with that equanimity and realism which take into account the
effectiveness of prayer,
and which are never devoid of supernatural hope.”

Pope St. John Paul II