October 28, 2016

2016 Vocations Supplement

Brother priests offer advice to parents to foster vocations in the home

By Sean Gallagher

They all agreed.

The three sets of brothers in the archdiocese who are priests, and the two priests who have sisters in religious life all pointed to the importance of the family in encouraging priestly and religious vocations.

Here is some advice and reflections they shared on fostering vocations in the home.

Msgr. Paul Koetter, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis, served as archdiocesan vocations director from 1983-93.

He advised that families pray together regularly, and invite priests and religious to their homes.

“Most of us would welcome the chance to visit a home and spend a little time,” Msgr. Koetter said. “That invitation, in which [the family] get to see priests and religious in a different setting from a liturgical or teaching role, whatever it might, is very valuable. The challenge is to get the priesthood or religious into the range of a normal decision, one that a reasonably good person could make.”

Father Anthony Hollowell noted that simply building up a healthy life as a family is a way to prepare the “soil” in which the seeds of vocations can grow.

“Vocations depend upon the soil,” he said. “The soil in which we grow up influences our ability to freely respond to what God is asking of us. It doesn’t determine it, but it influences it in a real way.”

Vocations can be more easily discerned when the faith is nurtured in children from a young age, said Father David Marcotte.

“Family is really where you have that foundation placed, where you’re first truly formed in the faith,” he said. “Hopefully the role and the significance that the family plays will come out. It helps to shape us for the rest of our lives.”

Having the example of brothers who are priests can hopefully help dispel misconceptions about the priesthood and religious life for parents.

“This is a great life that lets young men and women know that giving your life in service to the Church is full of joy,” said Father John Hollowell. “I think it’s often portrayed as sort of being boring or oppressive, when in reality there are all these amazing things that happen—graces and moments—that God gives us that we would never know about when we first started down the path of discerning that call.” †

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