By Peter Finney Jr.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans will celebrate National Vocations Awareness Week Nov. 5-11 with special content on NolaPriest.com in which seminarians and religious women share their vocation stories through brief videos.
Father Kurt Young, archdiocesan director of vocations, said he wanted seminarians to give unscripted responses to questions on topics such as what first attracted them to discern a call to the priesthood or what they enjoyed most about seminary life.
“I told the guys they had 30 seconds to a minute to give an answer, and we got a lot of very real answers,” Father Young said. “It was a very casual setting.”
About a dozen videos, including two by religious women and one reflection by Archbishop Gregory Aymond, will be rotated on NolaPriest.com during Vocations Awareness Week.
Father Young also has been writing daily reflections on the Mass readings – about 150 to 200 words – to give his readers an attraction to keep coming back to the website.
“We are really trying to make the website more user-friendly and add content that attracts everyone, not just those discerning a religious vocation,” Father Young said.
The content also will be pushed out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #nolavocations.
For those who are looking into a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, Father Young is offering a special giveaway prize of a breviary, with the winner chosen from among those who fill out an online form indicating they have an interest in learning more about the vocational discernment process.
Father Young said he hopes the online efforts will help the archdiocese continue to build its “culture of vocations.”
“We’re all trying to figure out what that means,” he said. “Essential to building a culture of vocations is to constantly remind people of the need to discern a vocation, and that’s not something reserved for just a select few people or for a select week. This is for everybody. We all need to discern a vocation.”
During the week of Nov. 5-11, Father Young will deliver the homily at the televised 12:05 p.m. daily Mass at St. Louis Cathedral. The Mass airs weekdays on WLAE-TV Channel 32 and on Catholic Community Radio, 690-AM.
“I will be gearing my homily toward vocations and discernment,” Father Young said, “and then we can use that clip on social media.”
There are 42 seminarians studying for the priesthood for the archdiocese.
Father Young said the discernment process has four parts: openness to the will of God, regular prayer and reflection, asking the right questions in prayer and speaking to a spiritual director or trusted priest or sister for guidance.
Another Come and See weekend for high school juniors and seniors and college-age men will be held March 23-25, 2018.