Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patron-Wong, Secretary of Seminaries for the Congregation of the Clergy in Rome, says in this episode that prayer and service of the faithful has produced much good for the Church. He says he was blessed growing up in a faith-filled, Catholic family. An encouraging word from a priest led him to eventually enter the seminary. When Archbishop Patrón-Wong entered the seminary, he desired to learn what “God wanted me to be.”
Archbishop Patrón-Wong says his position is new to the Vatican, instituted by Pope Francis one year ago, with an emphasis that everyone be afforded the opportunity to find their vocation. He says when a person finds the spirit of God’s love “they start thinking about the possibility of really taking account of God’s call as a disciple of Jesus.”
Archbishop Christian Lépine, Montreal shared that through prayer that “it was a sure thing that I would be a follower of Christ.” He says his first battle is his faithfulness to a life of prayer.
Fr. Joseph Eddy, a priest of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy joined us to discuss the history of the order, also known as the Mercedarians. He shared that his faith was nurtured with the aide of the family rosary and a growing devotion to the Eucharist.
The Order of BVM of Mercy was founded in Barcelona, Spain in 1218 to ransom Christians held captive by the Muslims. Their famous 4th vow is to be willing to offer even their lives for those in danger of losing their faith. Today in the U.S. the Mercedarians focus especially on preserving the faith of the Christian family. The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy has plans to open a house to defend and protect the faith of the family, under the patronage of St. Raymond Nonnatus, a patron of the family, unborn and expectant mothers.
The religious order will celebrate their 800th jubilee in 2018 using the slogan “my life for your freedom.” Fr. Eddy mentioned, “Families need to pray together and to spend time together. Sometimes you have to just turn off the electronic devices for a while.” He also invited discerners to “Come and See.”
Special guest, Fr. Gary Dailey, is in his 11th year as Vocation Director for the Diocese of Springfield, MA and is also Director of the Newman Catholic Center on the campus of the University of Massachusetts, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary. In this episode, we discussed Pope Francis’ Advent homily encouragement to have “gospel joy.” Father Gary explained his observations concerning the need for prayerful silence spiritually away from world in order to discern a vocation. Other topics included vocations from difficult family and cultural situations, the deep need for formation of seminarians, the January 4th rededication of the Perpetual Adoration for Vocations Chapel in Ludlow, MA, and how to raise the topic of vocations with young people.
Archbishop Sheehan celebrates his 50th anniversary of Ordination this year! He was ordained a priest on July 12, 1964, installed as First Bishop of Lubbock, TX in June 1983, appointed Apostolic Administrator of Santa Fe in the spring of 1993.
Five months later he was installed as Eleventh Archbishop of Santa Fe on September 21, 1993.
His Excellency was born in Wichita, Kansas to John and Mildred Sheehan, and raised in Texarkana, Texas. He attended both St. John’s High School Seminary and Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas. He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, from where he obtained a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1965. Sheehan was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on July 12, 1964.
Upon his return to the United States, he served as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Tyler from 1965 to 1968. Returning to Rome, he earned a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University in 1971. Sheehan served as Assistant General Secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference from 1971 to 1976, and as rector of Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas from 1976 to 1982.
He turned 75 this past July and submitted his resignation letter on his birthday.
Phil Labadie is founder of Labadie Communications, a Marketing and Creative Services Agency in Bellevue, Nebraska.
His work in promoting Vocations to the Priesthood began with a request from the then-Vocation Director and University of Nebraska Campus Minister of the Newman Center to design a brochure to help promote Vocations in the Diocese of Lincoln. This was the beginning of Phil’s call to raise awareness about the vocations and help supplement the funds needed to educate seminarians in the Diocese of Lincoln.
Over the past Eight years Labadie Communications has dedicated 100% of its time to the work of Vocation Awareness for dioceses and religious communities around the country.
Phil resides in Bellevue, just south of Omaha, with his wife Julie. He has four children. He is a parishioner at St. Mary in Bellevue, in the Archdiocese of Omaha, and is a member of the Omaha Serra Club. He also has his 3rd degree in the Knights of Columbus. Phil has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. His other professional memberships and affiliations include the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD), Institute On Religious Life, USCCB and several other Catholic Organizations including Vocation Boom.
Fr. Sam Kachuba was born and raised in the Diocese of Bridgeport. He attended Catholic schools in the diocese from fourth grade on, and then entered college/pre-theology seminary, St. John Fisher Seminary located in Stamford, CT.
Fr. Kachuba earned his undergrad in philosophy at Fordham University and then studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was ordained in May 2008 and became Director of Vocations in January of this year. He also serves as chaplain at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford.
Dr. Matthew Bunson joined us again to talk about some of the great priest-saints in the history of the Church. Among those we discussed were St. John Vianney, St. John of Avila, St. John Chrysostom, St. Damien de Veuster and Venerable Solanus Casey. One of the key elements in each of their priestly vocations was the fact that they overcame many obstacles on the way to ordination and during their ministry as priests.
In preparation for Halloween, Church-approved demonologist Adam Blai joins us to take calls and discuss the reality of demonic activity in our world and the great need for priests to lead the battle in a spiritual warfare rapidly growing more fierce. How did Adam get a start in demonology? What is the difference between psychological distress and possession? Why is demonic activity becoming more common today? Adam answers these questions and more!
Adam Blai has a Masters of Science from Penn State University in Adult Clinical Psychology. He has done psychological work in community and forensic settings. As is a peritus (expert) on religious demonology and exorcism for the Roman Catholic Church, he trains priests in exorcism on a national level and is an auxiliary member of the International Association of Exorcists. Adam’s professional work has spanned a number of disciplines, with a focus on forensics and psychology. Presently he works full-time for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in an administrative capacity while continuing his ministerial and training work. His website is www.religiousdemonology.com. You can buy his book, Possession, Exorcism, and Hauntings, on Amazon.
Fr. Ryan Moravitz is a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, MN. He is the pastor of two parishes and the Director of Vocations for the diocese. Fr. Ryan entered seminary at the age of eighteen. In the midst of his second year of seminary he discontinued seminary formation and transferred to a different university. After nearly three years of pursuing the possible vocation to married life he heard the call back to seminary. He is now a priest in his seventh year of Holy Orders. Father has served in four different parishes, was the Minnesota State Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, and is currently the Vocations Director for Duluth. He is grateful to be a priest in his home diocese and is joy filled by the grace the Lord accomplishes through the priesthood.
Father David Mary is the Minister General of the Franciscan Brothers Minor, located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Father entered the Order of Friars Minor at age 19. His undergraduate studies as a Capuchin was at Seton Hall University earning a BA in Religious Studies, with a minor in Philosophy. Fr. David Mary studied two years at St. Joseph in Yonkers, NY, and two years studying at a Franciscan seminary specializing in St. Bonaventure. His ministry has included working with the homeless, gangs and the poor; pro-life activities and youth evangelization. Father initiated “Shepherd’s United” an ecumenical group of Catholic priests and protestant pastors to promote religious freedom in the Fort Wayne area.
Fr. Jarrod Waugh, C.S.C., was ordained to the priesthood in April 2013, and joined the Office of Vocations later that summer. For the past two years he provided sacramental assistance at Christ the King Parish in South Bend, where he also served as a Transitional Deacon. Fr. Jarrod grew up in Edna, Kansas. He now resides at Moreau Seminary. Fr. Jarrod completed his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 2008 and his M. Div. in 2012. He spent his first two years of college in Keough Hall before entering the Old College Undergraduate Seminary Program as a Junior in 2006. The Congregation of the Holy Cross Vocations Office has developed a new Vocations Curriculum. It is a free download to parents, teachers and religious education catechists for use by students Kindergarten through Eighth grade. As a college student, Fr. Jarrod was active in the campus Knights of Columbus, and was a catechist for the Totus Tuus youth program in his home diocese of Wichita. With his close ties to the Knights, he confesses that he loves the Knight’s Steak Sandwiches, available on campus before every Irish home football game!
Fr. Brett Brannen is pastor of the Church of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Savannah, Georgia. He is the author of a book published in August 2014, “A Priest in the Family: A Guide to Parents whose Sons are Considering Priesthood.” He also authored “To Save a Thousand Souls,” which he wrote to assist men considering a vocation to the priesthood. Fr. Brett provides parish missions and retreats to seminarians, priests, and religious orders, appears on EWTN and has an audio series on how to discern a priestly vocation.
Nancy Carabio Belanger has loved to write ever since she was a little girl, writing fiction stories on the sly in math class. Olivia and the Little Way is a 2009 Catholic Press Association book award winner, children’s books. It is also a 2010 recipient of the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. The pro-life sequel to Olivia and the Little Way, Olivia’s Gift, has received the Catholic Writers Guild seal of Approval and is a 2011 Catholic Press Association book award winner. The Gate is her third novel, and a first-place winner for Best Catholic Novel in the 2014 Catholic Press Association Book Awards. The novel celebrates the dignity of the Catholic priesthood and God’s calling for each of us. Nancy graduated with degrees in English and journalism from Michigan State University.
Deacon Phillip Tran is a 4th year theologian who is currently in his last year of seminary formation. He grew up in South Florida (Boca Raton). After graduating from high school, he entered the University of Miami, with the intention of going into medicine as a physician. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience, and entered the seminary right after college. He credits his family, in particular his parents, for being excellent models of Christian virtue, and for nurturing his vocation. He has gone through six years of seminary thus far, with two years at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, and entering his fifth year at his current seminary, St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary. His interests include reading, fishing, watching movies of all genres, playing various sports, among many other things. He will be ordained a priest on May 9th, 2015.
Fr. Steve Maekawa is Director of Vocations for the Dominican Friars in the western US. He resides at St. Dominic parish in San Francisco, CA. Fr. Steve is from Seattle, WA and joined the Order of Preachers in 1990 following his graduation from college. Ordained to the priesthood in 1998, Fr. Steve is the past director of the Newman Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has also served as a reserve chaplain with the Navy and deployed to Afghanistan in 2004.
Fr. Caleb Vogel is Director of Vocations and Recruitment for the Diocese of Boise in Idaho. He is also pastor of St. Augustine’s Catholic Center at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID. Fr. Caleb’s grandmother first mentioned to him at the age of 7 that he would make a good priest. After discerning while on the family dairy farm outside of Twin Falls, ID, he entered seminary after high school and was ordained in 2004.
Fr. Sergio Perez is Director of Vocations and Youth Ministry for the Oblates of St. Joseph in Loomis, CA. He was raised Catholic, but it was while attending California State University at Bakersfield that he discovered more about his faith. Involved in a youth group and other parish ministries in Bakersfield, he was told that he should consider becoming a priest. He visited the Oblates and that’s where he “felt at home.”
Larry and Mary Jo Lovitsch are the parents of Fr. John Lovitsch (ordained in May 2013), associate pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Mokena, Illinois, and the founders of “POPS,” Parents of Priests and Seminarians. The group provides a variety of support for priests and seminarians, and also fosters vocations to the priesthood through monthly meetings, e-mail correspondence and special events. Larry and Mary Jo talked about what a blessing it was to have God call their son to the priesthood, and how they were able to enter into his vocational journey and share it with him. Mary Jo can be reached with questions about POPS here.
Fr. Kevin Hickey joined us to talk about his amazing journey to the priesthood. He was ordained on May 24, 2014, for the Archdiocese of Boston. He had been married to his beloved wife, Claire, for twenty years. She succumbed in 1999 after a seven-year battle with cancer. Fr. Kevin began to get more involved with the Church, to the point where he first took a look at the Archdiocese of Boston’s vocation page in 2004. Thinking that he was too old to pursue the priesthood (at age 53), he went about his life, until the prompting to investigate the priesthood continued to grow stronger. At the urging of a priest friend, he began the application process, and was part of the Archdiocese of Boston’s largest ordination class since 2003. He presently serves as parochial vicar of the collaborative parishes of St. Edward the Confessor in Medfield and St. Jude in Norfolk.
Fr. Paul McDonnell is Provincial Superior of the Holy Spouses Province of the Oblates of St. Joseph, which encompasses all of the United States. He shared how having a solid Catholic upbringing, with a family environment that supported whatever vocation God led him to embrace, was helpful to his eventually determining that he was called to the priesthood. He talked about the charism and ministries of his religious order, and how St. Joseph serves as a model of virtue for all of their members to follow. One of the Oblates of St. Joseph’s areas of ministry is with youth, an area Fr. Paul says is of vital importance in the Church today.
Fr. Jim Gallagher is vocation director for the United States Province of Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. He has also served in campus ministry and residence life at the University of Portland, which is run by his congregation. He talked about the insights he has gained into discernment from six years of work as a vocation director, including how a vocation to the priesthood is ultimately rooted in a one’s identity as a man of God. The motto of the Congregation of the Holy Cross is, The Cross is Our Only Hope. Fr. Jim shared his thoughts on the importance of a great devotion to the cross of Christ and the great hope that it has to offer to the whole world.
Msgr. Eugene Morris came back on the program to talk about his role as Director of Sacred Liturgy and Assistant Professor of Sacred Theology at The Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. A priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Msgr. Morris is a long time support of Vocation Boom and a member of our advisory team. He addressed topics such as the quality of the men entering formation today, the fact that these men are younger, on average, than in previous decades, and some of the challenges some of them face as they strive to shed the residue of past mistakes and seek the holiness required of one who is called to the priesthood.
Seminarian Corey Bruns of the Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky, joined us to talk about his solid Catholic upbringing, and how it helped to shape the faith which has now led him to give serious consideration to a priestly vocation. As a sophomore at Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis, he describes his life at the seminary and how he, his fellow seminarians and the formation staff all support each other as they aspire to the common goal of sharing in the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Jim Mazzone is director of vocations and recruitment for the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts. He also oversees the program at the Holy Name of Jesus House of Studies, and assists at Mt. Carmel Church in Worcester. He talked about his own vocational calling, and shared how he believes we are not experiencing a “vocations” crisis, but rather a “discernment” crisis. He talked about how vital it is that all young people – especially those whom God might be calling to the priesthood – take the time to quiet themselves and listen for the voice of God.
Seth DeMoor is the founder and president of One Billion Stories, a global movement to document and share via the media the faith journeys of ordinary people, including many priests and other men who feel called to discern the priesthood. He was raised a cradle Catholic, but says his faith was not very important to him growing up. He rediscovered it while a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Seth works closely with many clergy and seminarians in the Archdiocese of Denver, including vocation director Fr. Jim Crisman, who has been a guest on Vocation Boom Radio.
Fr. Tony Russo is pastor of Our Lady of Consolation Church in Rockford, Michigan. He has a degree in mental health and human services from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He revisited his amazing – and tragic – journey to the priesthood, which saw the Lord call home his beloved fiancée, Julie, just months before they were to be married. Then, just weeks after being ordained, Fr. Tony’s father died in an auto accident. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that he is now serving for the second time at Our Lady of Consolation, having been assigned there as associate pastor for his first priestly assignment.
Joseph Heschmeyer is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. He is studying at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis and is in his second year of pre-theology (a program of philosophy studies for men who have a degree, but who lack the requisite philosophical foundation to advance to study the Church’s theology). He shares his unique story of having to leave “The Firm” (he is a lawyer) and find a graceful way to exit a relationship that appeared headed toward marriage. You can follow him online at his blog.
Fr. Donald Calloway is one of the best known priests in the United States. He is vocation director for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, and is based at Franciscan University of Steubenville. His congregation is experiencing an increase in vocations, and he shared some of the reasons for that. He talked about the need for “manly” priests, some of the challenges facing young men as they discerning their calling and what a man should be doing if he feels a tug on his heart to consider becoming a priest.
Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, blessed us by being on the program. At the time of his consecration as Bishop of Marquette, Michigan (prior to his appointment to Portland), he was the youngest bishop in the United States, and the first to be born in the 1960’s. The Archdiocese of Portland is experiencing one of the largest vocation “booms” in the country, which His Excellency inherited from his predecessor, The Most Reverend John G. Vlazny. Listen to Archbishop Sample’s inspiring journey to holy orders, and how, as he says, “I knew I would never know peace until I explored the vocation to be a priest.”
Fr. Zyg Mazanowski, T.O.R., returned to the show on the third anniversary of the broadcast. Fr. Zyg was a guest on our inaugural show in 2011. At the time, he as a seminarian and a deacon, about to be ordained to the priesthood. We caught up with him in Rome as he is pursuing a doctorate in moral theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Santa Croce) in Rome. He shared with us the great joy of being ordained, the memories of his first Mass, and how being a priest has given him even more motivation for encouraging other men to consider the priesthood.
Steve Ray returned to the show to talk about the conversion of St. Paul, his calling from the Lord, and the importance of Paul’s ministry and understanding of holy orders. Steve and his wife, Janet, lead several pilgrimages each year to the Holy Land and other important Christian sites. They will be our guides for the first Vocation Boom pilgrimage for priests and seminarians to the Holy Land in December 2015. Steve is a convert to the Catholic faith, a frequent guest on Catholic radio and television programs, an author and blogs here.
We broadcast live from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. Our guests included Msgr. David Toups, rector of the seminary and a member of the Vocation Boom advisory team; Fr. Remek Blaszkowski, vice-rector of the seminary; and several of the men studying at St. Vincent de Paul. Our trip to the seminary coincided with its fiftieth anniversary celebration, which included a visit by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York. Msgr. Toups, Fr. Blaszkowski and the seminarians shared their love of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, as well as their passion for pursuing the common vocation to the priesthood.
Fr. Derek Lappe, pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Bremerton, Washington, joined us to share his passion for serving the People of God as a priest. He has a particular love for the liturgy, and is known for Masses at his parish which include up to eight altar boys. He is a co-founder of Quo Vadis Days, a growing movement that gathers young men each summer for a time of fellowship, activities, prayer and discussions about the priesthood.
Fr. Richard Pagano is a priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, and parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. That’s the parish where he grew up. He was ordained in May 2013, and shared with us his excitement and awe at being a priest of Jesus Christ. He talked about the influence of Pope St. John Paul II on his vocation, and the joys and challenges of his young priestly ministry.