Abp. George Lucas & Fr. Christopher Jamison

Archbishop George Lucas, Archdiocese of Omaha

His Excellency says he first thought of the priesthood in grade school. He says he knew it to be a good thing. He attended a high school seminary, college and then the theologate. A good spiritual director led him to deepen his prayer life, which he says was very helpful in his discernment. Archbishop Lucas says he starts his day in prayer, especially for the 30 seminarians in Archdiocese, “to help assist the Lord in his plan.” He says finding your vocation will bring life and joy. His encouragement to men discerning the priesthood is to pray everyday,

Fr. Christopher Jamison, National Office of Vocation for the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

Fr. Christopher says the lack of vocations stems from an individual not identifying their vocation. He says God calls everyone to some form of life (vocation). Father says its the role of the Catholic Bishops Conference to build a culture of vocations. In England discernment groups begin by focusing peer groups on good choices. As a Benedictine monk he finds benefit from “prayer of quiet” and meditation. On this episode Fr. Jamison talks about the time when he learned what animates him.

Fr. Seamus Griesbach

Fr. Seamus Griesbach, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Portland in Maine was our guest on this program.  Father details his vocation journey. He grew up in a small Maine community. He says Mass became more important in his teen and young adult years, what he describes as the beginnings of his discernment. It was in college that “the idea of the priesthood kept coming up…and God was not letting the question go away.” He learned to trust and allow the Lord to watch over him.

It was at World Youth Day in 2002 that he clearly heard Pope St. John Paul II say, “do not be afraid.”
Fr. Seamus encouraged men saying, “In God’s providence, you have to trust and do your best to pray, to live a virtuous life, and he will lead you down the right path.”

Fr. Seamus says priests come from ordinary families and that’s where God can be at work in helping a man find God’s will.

Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

Deacon Harold-Burke-Sivers was our guest on Vocation Boom! Radio in celebration of the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and our Advent preparation. Deacon Harold discussed his vocation journey, “a tug on his heart to the priesthood” that would later lead to the Benedictine Monastery and the University of Notre Dame where he discerned his call to marriage.

Deacon Harold says just as God used St. Juan Diego to do His will through Our Lady of Guadalupe, “discerners should know that they too are worthy.”

Deacon’s new book, Behold the Man: A Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality, details the importance of the clergy and laity to guide another through their vocational discernment. He encourages that  “A Catholic man (should be) living an authentic male spirituality…”

Fr. Louis Merosne

Fr. Louis Merosne, the director of the Pope St. John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization in Haiti was our guest. Fr. Louis says a vocation is of God, “when God calls you must respond.” On this episode of Vocation Boom! Radio, Father talks about the stress of discernment. Spending time reading and “seeing Jesus in scripture” and at Adoration was helpful for him.

Fr. Merosne says that once he consecrated his vocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, his ministry took off.
As a missionary priest, Fr. Louis says he is involved in ministering to the young and the poor, saying that “preaching the good news of Jesus Christ is both a duty and passion for him.”

His service to the Church for the New Evangelization can be found at www.haiti180.com.

Fr. Chris Lemieux

Fr. Chris Lemiuex is vocation director for the Archdiocese of Toronto. As a convert to the Catholic faith at the age of 32, he was soon invited by his pastor to consider the priesthood. He was ordained in 2012 and named vocation director in 2014. Toronto currently has 51 men in formation for the priesthood, studying at two different seminaries.

Fr. Bob Rottgers

Fr. Bob Rottgers, a former Episcopalian and priest of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, is our guest on this episode.

He speaks about his conversion beginning when his now deceased wife sought spiritual assistance for an illness and addiction. At that difficult time in his life he felt called to serve the Lord and His Church. He took a few years to discern and was ordained in 2009.

Fr. Rottgers supports the discipline of priestly celibacy saying, “you can’t do both well … a man can’t be fair to the Church or fair to a wife to be both.”  Father says his priestly ordination was “amazing, walking on a cloud until you fall prostrate on the altar…not the same as a wedding, but so spectacular…in the change of what you are…just magnificent.”

Fr. Bob is the pastor at St. Philip Catholic Church in Melbourne, KY.

Fr. Justin Brady

Fr. Justin Brady, a priest of the Diocese of Boise, Idaho was our guest. He is pastor at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Sun Valley, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Hailey and Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Fairfield.

Father says he was on retreat in high school when in prayer, “I knew there was a God and he loved me.” He says he learned that the fulfillment to what was aching in his heart was found in God. Fr. Brady shared that the discerning man must pray and listen to God…trust in God. He suggested to pray your innermost need. The importance of priests today, Fr. Justin says is “sharing God’s love.”

Fr. Brady is co-host of Collar Talk, heard Tuesdays on Salt and Light Radio.

Fr. Mike Driscoll

Author and hospital chaplain, Fr. Mike Driscoll was our guest. Fr. Driscoll recently wrote, Demons, Deliverance, and Discernment, published by Catholic Answers. He penned short stories, The Fr. Capranica Mysteries, published by Bezalel Books.

Fr. Driscoll, a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, IL was ordained in 1992 and is currently serving as chaplain of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Ottawa, IL.
His doctoral dissertation was entitled: How Catholic exorcists distinguish between demon possession and mental disorders.

Dr. Matthew Bunson

Dr. Matthew Bunson joins us for another in a series of shows on Priest Saints. On this episode, Matthew highlights St. John of Avila, now a Doctor of the Church, and more. St. John grew up in Spain, studied law, but eventually discerned the priesthood. On a chance meeting with a Franciscan priest he was encouraged to enter the seminary. Instead of celebrating a native custom of celebrating a feast he is known to have offered a meal to 12 homeless people.

Dr. Bunson is a Senior Correspondent for Our Sunday Visitor. He is a Senior Fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Dr. Bunson is on the faculty of the Catholic Distance University where he teaches Church History, including Catholic-Islamic relations and Medieval and American Catholic History. Matthew is the author or co-author of many books, including “The Pope Encyclopedia”, The Encyclopedia of Catholic History”, “The Encyclopedia of Saints”, “John Paul II’s Book of Saints”, and “The Life and World of St. Thomas Aquinas.”

Fr. Jim Murray and Fr. John Coughlan

Frs. Jim Murray and John Coughlan, priests in the Diocese of Elphin, Ireland, were our guests on this broadcast. Fr. Murray is the Diocesan Vocation Director and serves at St. John’s Catholic Church and Fr. Coughlan is the Assistant Vocation Director, a member of the formation staff, permanent deaconate program and liturgy commission.

Fr. Coughlan talks about how he grew in faith as part of a prayer meeting in Sligo in which Fr. Murray was the Spiritual Director. On pilgrimages he had “an awakening moment” where the question of leadership came up, which led him to consider who the leader in the community was…the priest. He says the Lord first “tapped me on the shoulder in prayer” and he felt compelled to answer the Lord’s call.

Fr. Murray also first felt called to the priesthood in his mid-teen years. He says God’s invitation was strongest in prayer and in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. While he felt he was not good enough to be a priest, a discussion with the vocation director eventually led him to the seminary to clarify his vocation to the priesthood.

Rhonda Gruenewald

Rhonda Gruenewald, author of “Hundredfold: A guide to Parish Vocation Ministry,” was our guest. She credits St. Pope John Paul II and his encyclicals as critical in her formation as a Catholic and in her service in building a culture of priestly vocations.

Her book walks parishioners through the important steps of praying for vocations, being aware of the need for vocations and educating oneself and others to that need, promoting vocations with the youth and young adults of the parish and the affirmation of priests.

Rhonda suggests that parishioners get a Mass kit for use with children and to adopt a seminarian as fruitful ways to create a vocation ministry at your parish.

You can learn more about Rhonda’s work at www.vocationministry.com.

“Hundredfold: a guide to Parish Vocation Ministry” is available from Vianney Vocations.

Fr. John Linden

A resounding Vocation Boom is going on in the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan. On this broadcast of Vocation Boom! Radio, Director of Vocations and Seminarians, Fr. John Linden was our guest. Two parishes in the diocese, God-willing, will each ordain their 24th priests in the coming months and years.
Fr. Linden, a late vocation to the priesthood, said he was inspired to consider God’s call to the priesthood when he saw Pope St. John Paul II on EWTN. He recalled seeing “something that he was and I wasn’t.”  It was through prayer that Fr. John experienced what he said was the floodgates of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
On this episode, Fr. Linden talked about being led first to the Franciscans, where he spent five years as a brother, and eventually to the diocesan priesthood. He shared that if men are wondering if they are worthy of the priesthood, he says you can recognize your weaknesses and worthiness by God’s grace. He said that “in prayer, you learn how to hear…that God is speaking all the time.”

Fr. Carter Griffin

Fr. Carter Griffin, Director of Priest Vocations and the Rector of Saint John Paul II Seminary in Washington, DC, was our guest on this episode.

Fr. Griffin talked about the benefits of attending college and enlisting in the Navy in advance of greater discernment in the seminary. He says the human and spiritual formation of Christian men is most important. Priests engaging discerning men has additional benefits.

Father talked about the “outstanding men” that are answering God’s call to the priesthood, and the orthodox instruction they are receiving Pope St. John Paull II seminary and elsewhere.

Lou Turcotte & Alex Rivera

Vocation Boom! Radio was on-location at St. Vincent dePaul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida for a chat with two seminarians.

Lou Turcotte of the Diocese of St. Petersburg says he began discerning as a member of his parish youth group. A student of business at the University of Florida, his vocational calling drifted away, until he became involved in FOCUS which he says, “completely transformed my prayer life.”

Alex Rivera of the Archdiocese of Miami says growing up in a faithful Catholic family, he says the option of a vocation to the priesthood was a real possibility from an early age. A pre-med student at Duke University, where the thought of the priesthood never left him. Alex says his pastoral work at a local medical facility has been particularly edifying in fulfilling God’s will.  Alex says what has helped him min discernment is “God has that call for you in your heart…and you can’t close yourself off to that…keep your honesty with God.”

Fr. James Dean

Fr. James Dean joined us to talk about his discernment – as a priest of the Archdiocese of Mobile – of changing from being a diocesan priest to joining the Oratory at St. Francis Xavier parish in Philadelphia. We spoke with him on the eve of Pope Francis’ trip to the United States, and discussed what he expected would be the fruit of our Holy Father’s visit to the U.S.

Rose Sullivan

The National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors is highlighted on this Vocation Boom! Radio episode. Jerry’s guest is NCDVD Executive Director Rose Sullivan, a passionate advocate for priestly vocations.

Rose came from a marketing background to initially assist her diocesan Vocation Director and was later led to lead the vocation apostolate in 2009. She says she serves the Church and its priests everyday to promote and cultivate vocations through prayer and discernment. She says we are all called to be a disciple of Christ, not to serve ourselves, but to support one another. Rose adds “the Priesthood is about service.”  She says the single most thing a person can do to support the priesthood is through prayer.

Rose advised men considering the priesthood to trust, one day at a time, in discernment.

When hearing God’s call, Rose shared, “you need to contact your parish priest and local vocation director, spiritual director, read scripture, go to Mass and benefit from the sacraments.”

Fr. Jonathan Raia

Fr. Jonathan Raia, Vocations Director and Director of Seminarians for the Diocese of Austin, Texas, joined us for this episode.

Fr. Raia says important to his own discernment was being raised in a faithful and vibrant Catholic family. The family prayed frequently which Father says helped him build a foundational friendship with the Lord. He also was encouraged by priests’ involvement in his life and seeing their example and joy. Fr. Jonathan says it was before the Blessed Sacrament in a prayer of discernment to the priesthood that he heard himself say (to himself), “there’s nothing I want more than that.”

In his role as Vocation Director, Father says he recruits, counsels and assists seminarians during their formation to the priesthood. The office also offers programs and retreats for men who are interested in discerning a call to the priesthood. Finally, the office works to foster a “vocation culture” throughout the Diocese.

Most Rev. Timothy Senior & Fr. Stephen DeLacy

Most Reverend Timothy Senior, Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and Fr. Stephen DeLacy, Vocation Director for the archdiocese, joined us to talk about the steady increase they are seeing in men applying to enter the seminary. Each shared details of his own vocational calling, as well as information about “Called By Name,” the exciting program they have implemented that gathers teenagers at the seminary to expose them to the priestly calling.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila was Jerry’s guest. His Excellency discussed his upbringing in Southern California, first hearing God’s call to the priesthood in his middle school years. He entered college as a medical student where he says the Lord continued to tug at his heart. Archbishop Aquila would soon thereafter enter the seminary where he clearly learned that Jesus wanted him as his priest. He says his greatest joy as a priest is teaching others the faith; the love and mercy of God, offering the sacrament of reconciliation while also bringing people back into the Church.
Archbishop Aquila was ordained for the Archdiocese of Denver in 1976. He is the first rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, which opened in 1999. He served as Bishop of Fargo, ND before being named Archbishop of Denver in 2012.
Archbishop Aquila is chaplain on the first Vocation Boom Holy Land pilgrimage December 28, 2015-January 6, 2016.

Fr. Matt Allman

Vocation Boom! Radio celebrated the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori by highlighting the congregation that he founded, the Redemptorists. Fr. Matt Allman, Vocation Director and Director of Provincial Archives for the Redemptorists’ Baltimore Province was our guest.

Fr. Matt says he followed the footsteps of his father who had spent time in seminary; a family environment that made it easy to discuss the priesthood as a vocation option. He encouraged parents to support their son and other men by “leading an active, practicing and positive life and giving witness to the joy in your vocation to follow God where he wants you to go.” He said there is no more joy as a priest than to show others God’s mercy. Fr. Allman suggested that discerning men “open their heart to what God is calling them to…to not let anything stand in the way of it.”

Steve Ray

Vocation Boom! hosts its inaugural pilgrimage to the Holy Land this coming Christmas season! Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver will be our Chaplain. Vocation Boom! founder and President Jerry Usher is host and on this episode of our EWTN radio broadcast, he is joined by our tour guide Steve Ray.

Steve & his wife Janet will lead you through the Holy Land—just like in the movies! They’ve been to the Holy Land over 100 times filming, exploring & leading pilgrimages. Join this spiritually enriching biblical adventure.

Bishop Joseph Tyson

Bishop Joseph Tyson of the Diocese of Yakima joined us again to share his heart for the priesthood and the people of God. He’s a native of the Diocese of Yakima, but grew up in the Seattle area, where he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Seattle in 1989. He received his call to the priesthood while involved in campus ministry at the University of Washington. He is a self-proclaimed “radio geek” who is deeply committed to the spread of Catholic radio throughout his region. He talked about the importance of family life in connection to priestly vocations, as the average age of a Catholic in his diocese is twenty-three.

Fr. Gustavo Vidal

Fr. Gustavo Vidal is a native of Colombia. He came to the United States in 1991 to study for the priesthood for the Diocese of Salt Lake City. Fr. Gustavo attended Mt. Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, and was ordained in June 1997. He shared his vocational journey, including how important it was that the people of the Church encouraged him to consider it. One priest in particular inspired him by allowing a young Gustavo to become a lector and teach religion in his parish. He sees himself as a missionary priest, having come from a very Catholic country to one that is not so much a Catholic country.

James DeOreo

James DeOreo is a seminarian for the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana. He first felt a prompting to consider the priesthood when he was a sophomore in high school. He felt he heard the voice of the Lord in his heart saying, “Become a priest,” while kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration. He comes from a practicing Catholic family that engaged in prayer on many occasions throughout the day. After graduating as valedictorian of his class at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, he attended the University of Notre Dame, earning a degree in Aerospace Engineering and Philosophy. He is presently studying at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Fr. Matthew Wiering

Fr. Matthew Wiering, Vocation Director for the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota. Sensing a call to the priesthood in high school and college, he felt he was “doomed” to be a priest. After resisting the call for a time, he surrendered to God’s will, whatever that meant in his life. Great support from his parents and family helped him open his mind and heart to a possible priestly vocation. He attended seminary in Rome, and was ordained to the priesthood on July 3, 2010. After serving in a parish and teaching high school theology, he was named diocesan vocation director in July 2014.

Fr. Craig Vasek

Fr. Craig Vasek, Pastor at St. Patrick Church in Hallock, MN, in the Diocese of Crookston, MN, shared his vocation story from promiscuous youth to priesthood. On the broadcast, Father discussed how he was invited to a retreat in his freshman year of college where he sensed that a change was needed in his young adult lifestyle. While at retreat he took the opportunity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where Fr. Vasek says acknowledging all of his sins brought “freedom.” Then within a couple of months while attending Mass, he says, God invited him to become his priest.

Fr. Vasek talked about the benefits of entering seminary, to truly discern God’s will and to grow in faith.

John Liston

Jerry was joined by John Liston, executive director of Serra International, based in Chicago, Illinois. John shared with us all the great things Serra International is doing to promote vocations to the priesthood, as well as support those men and women already in the priesthood or consecrated life. We also discussed the upcoming canonization of Junipero Serra, the Franciscan missionary who founded several of the California missions. Serra International, which was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1935, is named for the zealous missionary.

Br. Michael Baggot

Vocation Boom! Radio welcomed Br. Michael Baggot, studying in Rome for the Legionaries of Christ, to the broadcast. Br. Michael was received into the Catholic Church on the Easter Vigil of 2003, after a high school conversion from agnosticism.

He says literature rekindled his interest in receiving the gift of faith. He says he first encountered Christ in the New Testament, and believed in his divinity after reading C.S Lewis’ Mere Christianity. He talked about the peace that came to him about finding something more to life than having a family and a successful job. He said his Catholic grandmothers’ practice of faith, prayers, peace and joy was something mysterious and attractive to him. He soon found what he called “the Church of the bible.”

While at Christendom College he first received the hints of the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood after receiving Holy Communion when he had a desire to share Christ with others.

Br. Michael encouraged discerning men to persevere and to remain in contact with a priest or spiritual director who you trust to find the diocese or religious community that is most welcoming to you.

Tim Staples

Tim Staples, Director of Apologetics and Evangelization at Catholic Answers was our guest on this broadcast.

Tim talked about his journey to become an Assembly of God minister when a Catholic challenged his beliefs. He says “Jimmy Swaggart made me Catholic.” He was in seminary when God called him to the ministry of apologetics and evangelization.

He says devotion to our Blessed Mother is crucial for those called to the priesthood. Tim called the Virgin Mary the perfect mother and disciple, the ultimate example of the grace of God perfected in us. Discerning men were encouraged to regularly visit with a spiritual director to best determine God’s vocation for you.

Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P.

Fr. Brian Mullady, OP, on this episode of Vocation Boom! Radio discussed what it is like to evangelize through the media. As an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, CT, he is involved in educating a growing number of seminarians and priests involved in continuing education.

Fr. Mullady says men are entering the seminary between the ages of 18 and 65, where they extenuate their strengths and are encouraged in the face of their challenges.

Father attended St. Joseph’s School in Los Angeles, where he was an altar server, often times practicing the celebration of Mass during lunch time. He says, “It’s never too young to encourage a vocation.” Fr. Mullady says the best encouragement a person can give to another is their own practice of their faith. He suggested that parents and grandparents can show others through their commitment to their faith and through prayer.

He said an important criteria for a successful seminary candidate is a person that loves people and wants to serve. Fr. Mullady encouraged those who love Christ and want to love as Christ, not to hesitate investigating a priestly vocation.

Fr. John Bamman and Dc. John Clote

Members of the Order of Conventual Franciscans joined us for today’s broadcast. Fr. John Bamman, Vocation Director for the Midwestern Province of Our Lady of Consolation and Deacon John Clote discussed their discernment and acceptance to God’s calling to the clergy. Both are second year vocations. Fr. John says he set out to find the recipe for happiness but had restlessness before actively visiting religious communities to hear God’s will for him. He talks about the pains of discernment and the feeling of peace when you find the Lord’s calling.

Deacon Clote said his earliest memories regarding his vocational journey was from a Carmelite monastery where an impression was made upon him to make regular visits in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He says the gospel, the Eucharist and devotion the Blessed Virgin Mary caused a reversion of his faith in his secular work as a broadcast journalist. He says “there is a sense inside of you that something more needs to take place” in your life. His ‘yes’ has increased his experience to learn how God has and is touching his life. He says there is something beautiful and attractive about answering God’s call…”a voice that reaches down deep and is persistant.”

Fr. Ben Kosnac

Fr. Ben Kosnac is the pastor at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Slovak Catholic Church in Sterling Heights, Michigan. On this episode, Fr. Kosnac talked about his life growing up in communist Eastern Europe, the former Czechoslovakia. He talked about attending an “underground” catechesis to avert government oppression.

He had an interest in the priesthood at an early age, and knowing that many priests were first altar boys, he became an altar server at age 5. His path to the priesthood involved continually asking Jesus what he wanted from him. Fr. Ben attributes his vocation to the “spiritual unity of the family”, praying together, which he says provides the bedrock for being more sensitive to the voice of God. He encouraged parents to get their children involved in youth groups and to allow them to be involved in youth retreats.

Fr. Kosnac says in his time at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church, eight men have entered the seminary.

Frs. Todd & Gary Koenigsknecht

Fr. Todd and Fr. Gary Koenigsknecht, on this episode, talked about their life and ministry. These identical twin brothers, from a family of 10 children, were ordained in June 2014. Twenty-two priests from their home parish, Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Fowler, MI have been ordained. The brother priests said parent and parishioner support were instrumental in realizing their calling to a priestly vocation. Credit was given to their uncle priest for his example when he often visited the family home. They shared the importance of how their parents lived out their faith with joy. Their parents suggested a priestly vocation which made it more natural to answer God’s call. Frs. Todd and Gary said their parents were always supportive through discernment and formation.

Fr. Gary says being a priest is the greatest joy and honor of his life, especially at the hospital…seeing Christ working through him for those most in need.

Fr. Todd said being a priest is to “experience something much greater than yourself…it is beautiful to see the way Christ works and blesses through being a priest.”

Fr. Tony Cutcher

Fr. Tony Cutcher, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio currently serves as President of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils in Chicago. On this episode, Fr. Tony talked about his vocational journey through his duties with the U.S. Navy on a ballistic missile submarine and his work in retail management before entering the seminary. He believes God first calls you “to be,” what is your identity, and then “to do.”

In his role with the NFPC, he says “priests need to be nurtured.” He discussed retention of priests and priest support issues while addressing where priests fit in the “family.” In response to the Synod on the Family, The National Federation of Priests’ Councils holds its convocation in Louisville, KY, April 20-23, 2015.

Fr. Cutcher serves on the Board of Interfaith Worker Justice and the National Advisory Council of the St. John Vianney Center. As NFPC president, Fr. Tony is a contributor to the USCCB committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations.

Abp. Samuel Aquila

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, the chaplain on our first Vocation Boom! Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in December, joined Jerry on this broadcast. His Excellency grew up in California and said he began thinking about a vocation to the priesthood in 7th or 8th grade. He attended the University of Colorado in Boulder as a pre-med student. In his junior year in college, he agreed to seriously consider the priesthood. He finished college and then answered God’s call and entered seminary. Archbishop Aquila was ordained in 1976, was named Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota in 2002, and became Archbishop of Denver in 2012.

He says there is a great joy to teach people and to preach to people to help transform their lives.

Archbishop was the first rector of St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver and on this episode he talks about the formation process of men at the seminary.

On the inaugural Vocation Boom! Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he says the clergy, seminarians and laity will have a unique experience being where Christ walked and taught.

Deacon Edward Voltz & Seminarian J.D. Mathern

On this broadcast, Deacon Edward Voltz of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Seminarian J.D. Mathern of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana join Jerry Usher at the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Deacon Voltz says it was at a Lutheran Summer Camp that he began a life of prayer, which led him to a deeper faith. At a Trappist monastery kneeling before the crucifix, he relates hearing the words if Christ, “I’ve been patient with you, why won’t you be patient with me?” He says it was then that he began having a gradual deepening understanding and love of his Catholic faith.

It was after he began a job in youth ministry that the thoughts of the priesthood came to mind. He says he began to fall in love with the people of the parish…a deep sense of fatherhood.

Deacon Voltz says it was when he felt the deep sense of the love of God, his heart was transformed and he knew he was called to the priesthood.

Also on this broadcast, Seminarian J.D. Mathern says it was as a student at Louisiana State University that he noticed a deeper sense of conversion in his heart for his Catholic faith. He was involved in a retreat group at LSU, when he felt “the stirring” where God invited him to be all that he was created to be.

During his time at IPF, he says he learned to be quiet and listen to God.

J.D. suggests that young men find time to pray and to be with God. He says it’s best to discern with God.

Fr. T.J. Dolce

Fr. T.J. Dolce joined us to talk about priestly vocations in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. As the vocation director, he has seen great growth in the local Church. Many people are involved in the work of supporting vocations, including parish vocation committees, the Knights of Columbus and the Serra Club. Fr. T.J. is a media savvy priest who operates the blog Saving Souls Through the Web.

Kathleen Beckman

Kathleen Beckman serves as Co-Founder and President of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests. She is an author, radio host and retreat director who frequently speaks to priests, seminarians, religious and laity in the United States and abroad, emphasizing Eucharistic spirituality, healing and deliverance, and the New Evangelization. She joined us to talk about the critical importance of praying for priests and for more priestly vocations. She emphasized spiritual fatherhood and motherhood of priests and seminarians, and also discussed her book, Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization, which has a foreword by Fr. Mitch Pacwa of EWTN.

Fr. Jeff Eirvin

Fr. Jeff Eirvin, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon was our guest on this episode. Fr. Eirvin resides with other men at the new Archdiocesan House of Discernment. He spoke about his personal sacrifices that led him to discern a vocation to the priesthood. Fr. Jeff encourages discerning men to listen to God, live a life of prayer and to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament.

Fr. Benjamin Lehnertz

Fr. Benjamin Lehnertz is parochial vicar at Annunciation Catholic Church in the Diocese of Orlando, Florida. He shared many helpful insights, including that a man should go to the seminary for the purpose of discerning the priesthood specifically, not just what he ought to do with his life. His devotion to the Virgin Mary has been a big help in his vocational journey. He also shared how as a priest his desire for community is met through regular interaction with his parishioners.

Fr. Kurtis Gunwall

Fr. Kurtis Gunwall, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Fargo, ND was our guest on this broadcast. Fr. Kurtis first thought he was called to the permanent diaconate, when he discerned to the priesthood. He worked in youth ministry for about 10 years when he heard God’s call to a deeper relationship with him and began the process of becoming a deacon. He prayed about what God was calling him to do, and was encouraged to consider the priesthood.

Fr. Gunwall says its best to learn to hear the voice of God, to ask open ended questions and be willing to take the steps that God wills today. He talks about the importance to “rest in God.” Father encouraged good spiritual direction for the discerner and mentioned that if you faithfully and constantly seek God’s face, none of the journey to finding your vocation is ever wasted.

Frs. David Cartwright & Stephen Langridge

On this episode, Fr. David Cartwright, Vocation Director of the Archdiocese of Melbourne in Australia says his teachers in primary school suggested the priesthood to him. He says he worked and went to school for many years and knew that “something wasn’t right” and he then entered seminary. Fr. Nicholas Pearce, Assistant Vocation Director in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, says it was at World Youth Day that he encountered the Church in her beauty, history and teaching, and from that he came to a better appreciation of the Church and the Priesthood. He says it was through the examples of priests and lay people that led him to consider being a priest.

Both said that it was through prayer, before the Blessed Sacrament, that a vocation to the priesthood became more real. Fr. Nicholas says he often visits local high schools sharing the gospel message of Peter in the boat where Peter has the courage to walk on water and to follow the Lord (Mt. 14:22). He says with a focus on Christ, man can do something amazing. Fr. Nicholas asks discerners to challenge themselves, “to be called to greatness and to do something wonderful with your life.” He says every man if he loves God should be asking God if he is called to be a priest.

Fr. Cartwright says as a priest there is more work to do and more souls to save.

Fr. Stephen Langridge, Vocation Director for the Diocese of Southwark, UK, says once a man encounters Jesus he grows in discipleship, a field into which a seed of vocation is sewn and takes root. He says the growth in vocations is a bit behind that of the United States. He says he helps men discern and grow in that interior life, a life of virtue that they will need to be an effective priest. He says a man needs to find his vocation as a call from God to which he must commit his life.

Fr. C. John McCloskey

Fr. C. John McCloskey is a priest of the prelature of Opus Dei. He is a research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C., which also happens to be his hometown. He is perhaps best known for guiding into the Church such luminaries as Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Lawrence Kudlow, Robert Novak, Judge Robert Bork, Senator Sam Brownback, Alfred Regnery, and General Josiah Bunting. He joined us to talk about his own calling to the priesthood, how men are called to the priesthood within Opus Dei and how we can all play a part in cultivating more priestly vocations.

Fr. Matt Lowry

On this episode of Vocation Boom! Radio, Fr. Matt Lowry, Associate Vocation Director for the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, and Chaplain at the Newman Center on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, shared that “it’s challenging and not easy to follow Christ, until you encounter Christ.” Addressing men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood, Fr. Lowry said that the desires we have are natural and we are meant to better understand the desires and see where they lead us. He advises to submit the desires to God to see where He leads. He says Vocation Directors often advise to discern one thing at a time, to help determine what is leading you to greater holiness.

Fr. Lowry invites men to share in the joy of the priesthood, by seeking Jesus who can reveal who you are. If called, he says to take it to prayer and to embrace opportunities to encounter Christ.

Fr. Lowry in A Day in the Life of a Priest shares what he says is “the beautiful life of the priesthood.”

Fr. Wade Menezes

Fr. Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy, located in Auburn, KY, was our guest today. Father talked about growing up on a dairy farm in a devoted Catholic family. He went to college with an interest in journalism and freelanced with the Catholic Press. This began his increased interest in the Church. He says as a young man, many priests inquired with him about the possibility of a vocation as a priest. Fr. Wade says his journalism background led him to the Fathers of Mercy.

Father says he likes to stress that God has a Plan A, B or C – single, married, or consecrated life for each individual. Plan A, for each person, is being the best a person can be.

He says not to let woundedness hinder the journey to a priestly vocation. He added that each capital sin has an opposite, corresponding virtue. If suffering from sin, Fr. Wade says to focus on the opposite virtue in one’s daily life. He mentioned that vices can cloud a person discerning God’s vocations for them.

Father Wade talked about the importance of the laity to be a “bulkwark of the faith,” bringing others to the fullness of the Christian faith, and in today’s culture for everyone to be good students of the faith with a strong Marian devotion.

Fr. Joseph Kim

Fr. Joseph Kim, Director of Vocations and Seminarians, and Director of Evangelization, Diocese of San Jose, California. In this episode, Fr. Kim talked about the importance of growing up in a solidly rooted Catholic environment centered on a love of Christ and prayer, which led him to eventually discern his vocation to the priesthood. He says it’s an emphasis of the Diocese of San Jose to connect the new evangelization with vocations. Fr. Kim talks about encouraging the laity to be faithful disciples, growing in their relationship with Christ, in order to foster vocations.

Fr. Paschal Yohe

Fr. Paschal Yohe, the Director of Vocations for the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word shared in this episode that what he considers to be the greatest importance of being a priest is his self-denial, so that God may increase in the world. Father also talked about the influences of growing up in a well grounded Catholic family, with encouragement to attend a discernment retreat and to visit a seminary. He says those invitations played a role in his decision to enter the seminary to determine his vocation.

Fr. Paschal says its best for a man discerning his priestly vocation to have a good moral foundation and to live the life of the Church while discerning.

"If you are what you should be, then you will set the world on fire." -St. Catherine of Siena