On Saturday, September 19, 2009 the Diocese of Raleigh Office of Vocations hosted its first Vocation Liaisons Day at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Raleigh. The event started with a Mass for Vocations celebrated by Fr. Ned Shlesinger, Director of Vocations for the Diocese. During the Mass Fr. Shlesinger preached about the importance of prayer in the life of the Church, but especially in the lives of the faithful. He also addressed the real importance of prayer for the work of vocations.
Mass was followed by a time for fellowship, coffee and refreshments before the morning presentations by the Office of Vocations. Fr. Shlesinger started off by addressing the 22 liaisons present about the Office of Vocations and our strategies for promoting and encouraging more vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood and Religious Life. Following his presentation, Brad Watkins and Sara Edwards spoke to the liaisons about resources available from the Office of Vocations and gave them a preview of the new Vocations website (www.raleighvocations.org).
During lunch liaisons were able to pick up the new vocations posters as well as the new seminarians prayer cards and other materials.
The afternoon session included presentations by current vocations liaisons Michele and Tristan Evans and Deirdre and Gerry Schuetz. The Evans gave a wonderful presentation on their efforts as vocations liaisons at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary. They spoke of the many blessings they have found in their work to promote vocations at one of the largest parishes in the diocese. They were also able to speak to some of the challenges that all liaisons may face.
Following Michele and Tristan’s presentation, Deirdre and Gerry Schuetz gave a wonderful talk on promoting vocations in the domestic church, the family, as well as in the larger parish family. Not only are the Schuetz’s the vocations liaisons at St. Joseph’s Church in Southeast Raleigh, but they are also the parents of Michael Schuetz, a second year college seminarian for the Diocese of Raleigh. Their talk was a very personal, but practical, presentation on what they feel may have helped create the supportive environment in which there son was able to discern his call to the Priesthood.
The day ended with the blessing of having the vocations director for the Diocese, Bishop Burbidge, give a terrific talk about vocations. He shared his insights from the experiences of his own vocation, as well as that of being rector of a seminary and Bishop. He also shared with us some of the challenges he faces with regards to the demand for priests and religious in the Diocese, as well as his vision for how the liaisons can assist him in addressing those demands.
The day concluded, as it began, in prayer. The Office of Vocations staff and the Vocations Liaisons spent time together in adoration and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and ended the day with benediction led by Bishop Burbidge.
By all accounts the day was a tremendous success. It was a great opportunity for everyone to meet and relationships to be forged. Ideas were shared by both the Office of Vocations as well as Vocations Liaisons and everyone had the sense that there is tremendous potential in the vocations liaisons program in the future of vocations promotion in the Diocese of Raleigh. Plans are already underway for next year’s Vocations Liaisons Day!
Vocations Liaisons Day 2009 Photo Gallery