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 | By Jennifer McAnally | Guest columnist

Saying yes to the challenge of promoting vocations

“Without priests there is no Eucharist, without the Eucharist there is no church.”

Last year I felt a pull to say "yes" to something all day but had no clue what it was. So that night when Father John Guzaldo, my pastor, asked me to lead our parish’s vocations ministry my “yes” felt like a natural response. However, it was the vocations workshop held a few days later that truly sealed the deal.

As I listened to Father Greg Gerhart, I was truly inspired. He is so enthusiastic about his ministry. However, learning about the declining numbers of priests was troubling. As I drove home that day, I was on fire for this change and challenge that I knew my parish needed. My desire to promote vocations stems from the incredible joy but also concern I experienced that weekend.

In the two years since our start, the Vocations Ministry at our parish has already become an ever-present force in our community. Through the establishment of a permanent vocations table in the parish hall, we have created an information hub for individuals of all ages to learn about upcoming events and resources.

The ministry also spotlights seminarians in our parish bulletin, which not only encourages prayer for our future priests but has also provided insights into their personal journeys. In addition, our quarterly Feast with the Priest potluck dinners will start soon.

Also, the ministry partners with Father Guzaldo to provide a monthly Manus Dei dinner, which brings together around 30 fathers and sons to share a meal and engage in conversations about vocations. We also hosted a dinner where mothers and daughters had the opportunity to hear from religious sisters, and we are planning to have more such events in the future.

The true nurturing of vocations begins at home, and the evidence is clear, when fathers are active in their faith the family will follow. Recognizing this pivotal role, the Vocations Ministry at St. Luke Parish in Temple has placed a strong emphasis on the evangelization of fathers to help promote vocations. By actively engaging and encouraging fathers to be positive role models and spiritual leaders within the household, this ministry will begin to realize the goal of fostering home-grown priests and religious.

No ministry can be successful without the efforts of many hands. The Vocations Ministry at St. Luke is a cracker jack team, and I am blessed to be a part of it. We are blessed with the constant support of Father Guzaldo, Mike Hannon, Angie and Ross Neill, and our fantastic Knights of Columbus. Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, this team has gotten off to a great start and the best is yet to come.

Jennifer McAnally serves as the director of the Vocations Ministry at St. Luke Parish in Temple. She and her husband, Robert, have three young boys. For more information about the ministry, email