The Vocations Bunch

Written by Fr. Brian Alford

Here’s a story of how 5 priests became the Vocations Bunch.  A few years ago, at a gathering of priests in our diocese, a visiting bishop asked the group about the Vocation Director for the diocese.  It just so happened that he was not with us at that point in the day, which generated some laughs.  The visiting bishop than looked at all of us and said, in a very serious manner: “You are ALL vocation directors!”

That little exchange has always stuck with me and reminded me of how important it is for every priest to actively promote vocations to the priesthood.  At the same time, it is still helpful to have certain priests who have a special focus on doing this important ministry.  For the past six years, I have been very blessed to serve as our diocesan Vocation Director.  In that role, there have been two broad areas of focus: promoting vocations and supporting our seminarians who are in formation for the priesthood.  These two duties could occupy all my time, but I also serve in two other roles: Pastor of St. Jude Parish in Rochester and Vicar for Priests for the diocese.

With trying to juggle those various responsibilities, it became clear that the work of promoting vocations was an area that needed the effort of an entire team.  Bishop Paprocki suggested that we consider asking a few priests to assist with that work of promoting vocations.  The idea was to identify priests in various locations of the diocese to be a regional resource and a collaborative ministry.  When the call was made to them to ask them about joining the team, a few of them mentioned that a similar idea had been discussed among them recently, so it became clear that the idea of the bishop to create five new Associate Vocation Directors was much more than a hunch!  And that’s the way we all became the Vocations Bunch!