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2009 Posts

VISION makes important youth connection

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Friday 27, November 2009 Categories: Vocation and Discernment

Highlights from VISION Vocation Guide's first time attendance to the National Catholic Youth Conference--held last week in Kansas City, MO--included:

  • Greeting enthusiastic young adults, teenagers, youth ministers, parents, chaperones among the 22,000-plus in attendance
  • Watching teenagers bowl with the bishops using the Wii that sponsored
  • Feeling the enthusiasm and spirit of the faith-filled crowd in and around Kansas City's Bartle Convention Center
  • Eating at Lidia's restaurant--yum!

A few photos--sorry we couldn't provide more--we were glued to the booth!

Franciscan Friars at their booth
National Religious Vocation
Conference (NRVC) Board
Member Augustinian Father
Kevin DiPrinzio, NRVC
Executive Director Holy Cross
Brother Paul Bednarczyk, and
NRVC Associate Director
Sister of St. Joseph of
Philadelphia Charlene Diorka

Margaret Paluch, vocation promoter extraordinaire, dies

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Monday 12, October 2009 Categories:

All of us involved in vocation ministry lost a dear friend on Oct. 8 with the death of Margaret "Mickey" Paluch, chairman of the  board of the J.S. Paluch company and longtime promoter and supporter of Catholic church vocations. 

In 1985 she established the J.S. Paluch Company’s National Vocation Awareness Division, which supports vocation ministry in the church and underwrites an annual national vocations seminar. In 1991 Mickey established the Endowment for the Margaret and Chester Paluch Chair of Theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary/Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, IL, in support of that effort.In 1995 she created the Paluch Family Foundation, which funds liturgy, stewardship, and vocation projects.

In recognition of her devotion to vocation ministry, the National Religious Vocation Conference(NRVC) presented its John Paul II Award to Mickey in 1987. In 1989 the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD) bestowed its Stewardship Award on Mickey and later established the Margaret A. Paluch Award in her honor. In 2007 Mickey received the Pope John Paul II Seminary Leadership Award from the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) Seminary Department in recognition of her distinguished service to Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States and Canada.

Vocation flavors in Julie and Julia

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Wednesday 26, August 2009 Categories: Vocation and Discernment

What does a movie centering on cooking have to do with vocation? Could be plenty. To my mind, Julie and Julia is not only a fun movie to watch, but it's something of a secular meditation on what we Catholics call a "vocation story." There is no prayer in this movie (at least none is portrayed). There is no discussion of "calling" or "discernment," yet at heart the movie is about two women who are in the process of discovering who they are, where they belong in the world and what it is that they love and are good at.

For people of faith, these foundational concerns are the building blocks of vocation. Who am I? What are my gifts? What am I passionate about? What stirs me? These all play into the pivotal question of "What is God calling me to?" After all, God calls us according to our gifts and our deepest desires.

Julia Child had a gift for cooking and for communicating her love of cooking to others. The blogger, Julie Powell, also had a passion for cooking and writing. In the movie, over the course of months and years, both women learn by trial and error about their individual gifts and passions. They both have failures and experience uncertainty. Yet, as they come to know and appreciate themselves better, their talents finally begin to bloom in a way that becomes noticed by others. Throughout the movie they share their talents with others, especially their husbands who enthusiastically devour the scrumptious goodies that flow from the kitchen. Many of this movie's luscious food scenes hint at the heavenly banquet.

Julie and Julia is a secular story. But Christians, too, can gain some insights about the importance of self-discovery in vocation and the wisdom of sharing our gifts with others.

Post submitted by Carol Schuck Scheiber, VISION's content editor

Why we need religious, priests, brothers, sisters

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Thursday 20, August 2009 Categories: Consecrated Life

I was at the Paluch Seminar on Vocations this past week and met some young adults who had never met a religious sister until they were well in their teens or 20s—even though they had attended Catholic schools. It made me realize that many people may not know or see the value of nuns, sisters, brothers, and religious priests.

I'd love to hear from others on what they see as the value for themselves and for the church of having people choose religious life. For myself I would say that I have been inspired by the fact that priests, brothers, sisters have been at the forefront of every major social movement in the U.S.: child labor laws, civil rights, peace, social justice. They helped establish our extensive Catholic school and healtchcare systems. They are now leaders in the immigration and healthcare reform movements.

I do believe their witness and dedication to the church is essential to the life of the church. Please let me know what you think.

Best practices for encouraging religious vocations

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Wednesday 12, August 2009 Categories: Vocation and Discernment

A Study on Recent Vocations was just published by the Center for the Applied Research in the Apostolate on behalf of the National Religious Vocation Conference (the group which holds the copyright for VISION Vocation Guide). The study shows an increase in ethnic diversity among new entrants and a desire for prayer, communal living, and Catholic identity, which correlates with the VISION annual trend surveys and reader statistics.

For full details of the study, click here.

Best practices gleaned from the study for attracting and retaining new members:

  • Being Proactive about Vocations
  • Creating a Culture of Vocations
  • Vocation Director and/or Team
  • Use of Media for Vocation Promotion
  • Discernment Programs
  • Targeting Age Groups

Parishes, religious educators, and families also play a role in promoting vocations. Let's hope the study spurs more vocation awareness among all Catholics.


Exhibit features U.S. Catholic sisters' history

Posted by:   🕔 Wednesday 08, July 2009 Categories: Consecrated Life

Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America is a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in association with the Cincinnati Museum Center. It offers history museums across the country an opportunity to display artifacts and images the general public has rarely seen.

Opening last May in Cincinnati, the exhibit is scheduled for various locations in the next three years and is accepting new bookings. It allows exhibit-goers, its website says, to “meet women who corresponded with President Thomas Jefferson, talked down bandits and roughnecks, lugged pianos into the wilderness, and provided the nation’s first health insurance to Midwestern loggers.” 

For more information, go to

Meet the ordination class of 2009

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Friday 01, May 2009 Categories: Clergy

The U.S. Catholic bishops have posted their annual survey of the newly ordained. The 2009 survey, commissioned by the U.S. bishops and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), had a response rate of approximately 70 percent of the 465 potential ordinands.They included 239 men being ordained for dioceses and 71 for religious orders. Among the survey's findings:

  • The average age for the Class of 2009 is 36.
  • One quarter of ordinands were born outside the United States, with the largest numbers coming from Mexico, Vietnam, Poland and the Philippines.
  • Most ordinands have been Catholic since birth, although one in ten (10 percent) became Catholic later in life, on average at 21.
  • Before entering the seminary, two in three ordinands completed college (65 percent), and one in five of those had a graduate degree (19 percent).
  • Half of responding ordinands (51 percent) attended a Catholic elementary school, which is a slightly higher rate than that for all U.S. Catholic adults. Ordinands also are more likely than other U.S. Catholic adults to have attended a Catholic high school and are much more likely to have attended a Catholic college. .
  • Whether or not they ever attended a Catholic elementary or high school, 57 percent (65 percent of diocesan ordinands and 54 percent of religious ordinands) participated in a religious education program in their parish.
  • Ordinands have been active in parish ministries, with between about half and three-quarters indicating they served as an altar server, lector, and/or Eucharistic minister.
  • About two-thirds of ordinands report having full-time work experience before entering the seminary, most often in education.
  • Responding ordinands represent 112 dioceses/eparchies and 46 religious congregations.

The National Religious Vocation Conference hopes to work with the USCCB Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations on a similar project highlighting the newly professed men and women in religious institutes.

The church exists because of—not despite—our differences

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Tuesday 10, March 2009 Categories: Doctrines & Beliefs

I stumbled upon this comment from an address given to vocation directors about the diversity in mission and ministries among religious communities, but it certainly has a wider application for all Catholics and Christians:

“The church exists today because of the contentiousness of Paul and the impetuousness of Peter. It exists today because of the gentleness of John and the passionate love of the Magdalen. It exists because of the diplomacy of Timothy and the generous hospitality of Lydia. It exists because of the capable leadership of Phoebe and the eloquent wisdom of Stephen. As the early church had them and their contributing gifts and charisms, today it has us. Saint Catherine of Siena wrote in her Dialogues that God said to her: ‘I could well have made human beings in such a way that they had everything, but I preferred to give gifts to different people, so that they would all need each other.’ ”

—Brother Paul Bednarcyk, C.S.C., from “Empowered by the Holy Spirit, let’s work together to build our future,” the 2009 Winter issue of Horizon.

Number of priests increasing worldwide

Posted by: Patrice Tuohy   🕔 Tuesday 03, March 2009 Categories: Clergy

The Vatican's official yearbook, the Annuario Pontificio, formally presented to Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28, shows a gradual increase in the number of Catholic priests worldwide. There are now more than 408,000 priests in the world (up from 405,178 in 2000), and more than 115,000 seminarians training for priestly ministry.

The number of priests has grown by over 20 percent in Africa and Asia and is holding steady in the Americas. Europe and Oceania experience a slight decline, the Vatican said.

An uptick in those interested in and entering religious life is noted in's annual surveys on vocation trends. Click here for more information on VISION's statistics and recent vocation surveys.



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