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. Representatives from 22 parishes and schools attended.
This year, the Office initiated a Liaison program, in which lay men and women, appointed by their pastors or principals, assist the Office of Vocations in the work of promoting and encouraging vocations in the Diocese. They assist by praying for an increase in vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life and by being the point of contact for the Office of Vocations with the parish or school.
Vocation Liaisons Day began with a Mass for Vocations celebrated by Father Ned Shlesinger, Diocesan Director of Vocations. The morning presentation included a detailed explanation of the work of the Office by Father Shlesinger. Staff members Brad Watkins and Sara Edwards described the resources available from the Office of Vocations and gave the Liaisons a preview of the new Vocations website (www.raleighvocations.org).
The afternoon session included presentations by current Vocations Liaisons Michele and Tristan Evans and Deirdre and Gerry Schuetz. The Evanses discussed their work as Vocations Liaisons at Saint Michael the Archangel Church in Cary and the blessings they have received in their ministry.
Deirdre and Gerry Schuetz, Liaisons at Saint Joseph Church in Raleigh, explained the importance of promoting vocations in the domestic Church; be it the family or the larger parish community. Not only do the Schuetzes act as Vocations Liaisons in their parish, but they are also the parents of Michael Schuetz, a second-year college seminarian for the Diocese. Their talk was a very personal presentation on what they believe created the supportive environment in which their son was able to discern his call to the Priesthood.
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge shared with the group his own vocation discernment as well as his experience and insights as a former rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and as Bishop. He explained how Vocations Liaisons can be of great service to the Diocese in meeting its ever growing need for Priests and Religious.
Currently 60 lay men and women are involved in the program. Anyone interested in learning more about the Vocation Liaison ministry should contact their pastor.
Above: Diocesan Vocation Director Father Ned Shlesinger talking to parish and school Vocation Liaisons during the recent event marking their ministry.
Below: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge discussing the important role of Vocation Liaisons to the future of the Church.