With creative contest entries, students inspire vocations director

Winners of the Vocations Awareness Contest, sponsored by Serra Club, the vocations office of the Diocese of Davenport and the Catholic Messenger, were front, from left, Carly King, Katie Roling, Chris Kenefick, Sarah Huber, Kourtney Lyons; middle row, Kevin Kurth, Kali Roling, Hope Petersen, Carly O’Connor, Isaac Blandin; back, Chris Kottenstette, Ben Gradert, Bishop Martin Amos, Jacob Kaczinski, Taylor Determan, Chelsea Pierce and Father Marty Goetz. Not pictured are Jake Keating, Anna Davlin and Isabel Bebber.

By Father Marty Goetz

A priest rushed from Church one day to keep his tee time. He was halfway down the first fairway, waiting to hit his second shot, when he heard “Fore!” and a ball slammed into the back of his head.

Soon, the golfer who had made the drive was on the scene to offer his apologies. When the priest assured him that he was all right, the man smiled. “Thank goodness, Father!” he exclaimed.  “I’ve been playing this game for 40 years, and now I can finally tell my friends that I’ve hit my first holy one!”

Again you might be wondering to yourself: “What does a golf joke have to do with vocations?” (Or maybe you think you’re reading a reprint from an earlier edition of The Catholic Messenger or that the vocation director has run out of ideas for another column.) Again this year, with the help of The Catholic Messenger and the Serra Club of Davenport, students from across the Diocese of Davenport were invited to participate in a vocation promotion contest. The prize? The winners would receive not only a pizza party, but the opportunity to play putt-putt golf with Bishop Martin Amos. Students in grades two to 12 were encouraged to use their imagination and write either a prayer for vocations or create a picture or poster about vocations. The response was phenomenal! I am pleased to announce that we received more than 250 entries from across the diocese.

The entries were wonderful. The artwork and prayers were creative and inspiring, which made it very difficult to choose the winners. I want to share with you some of the prayers that were entered; you’ll see why it was so hard to pick only 16 winners:


Dear Lord,

Every day I wonder what you will call me to do.

Please guide me in the right direction and lead me down the right path.

My life is in your hands and I will follow what you want for me.

In your Holy Name … AMEN!

— Kourtney Lyons

(There are some days when I wonder what Jesus is calling me to do. May all of us ask for direction and guidance.)


Please help us find a vocation to love and serve you

 through the life of married, single, religious brother or sister, or priesthood.

Also, help us stay true to that vocation and never turn away from you … AMEN

 — Christopher Kenefick

(May all of us do great things for Jesus and stay ever close to him!)


Of God


All of us



One another by using our gifts and talents to

Nourish the Christian Spirit and

See God’s will for us!

 — Sarah Huber

(Each of us has a gift to inspire and bless someone in our lives, if only we use our gifts and talents. A pretty smart sixth-grader!)

Most of the winners were able to join Bishop Amos and myself for pizza and putt-putt golf last week. Judging from the winners and all of the entries that were submitted, I would say the Davenport Diocese has many more “holy ones” out there!  Are you ready to do your part so that all of us will win?

(Fr. Goetz is vocations director for the Davenport Diocese. Contact him at (563) 888-4255 or goetz@davenportdiocese.org.)

Winners of the vocations contest


Isabel Bebber, fifth grade, Lourdes Catholic School

Anna Davlin, eighth grade, Lourdes Catholic School


Chris Kottenstette, senior, Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School


Taylor Determan, junior, Prince of Peace College Prep

Jacob Kaczinski, junior, Prince of Peace College Prep


Ben Gradert, eighth grade, John F. Kennedy Catholic School

Sarah Huber, sixth grade, All Saints Catholic School

Carly King, fourth grade, John F. Kennedy Catholic School

Kevin Kurth, sixth grade, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School

Kourtney Lyons, eighth grade, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School


Isaac Blandin, second grade, St. Joseph Catholic School

Carly O’Connor, fourth grade, St. Joseph Catholic School

Hope Petersen, fourth grade, St. Joseph Catholic School

Kali Roling, sixth grade, St. Joseph Catholic School

Katie Roling, seventh grade, St. Joseph Catholic School

Iowa City

Jake Keating, sophomore, Regina Junior/Senior High School


Chris Kenefick, fifth grade, Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School


Chelsea Pierce, freshman, St. Bridget Parish

Other winning written entries

Dear Holy Spirit, Guide me to understand what God is calling me to do. Open my heart and help me to answer his call every day of my life. He is always calling me, so help me take some of the distractions out of my life so I can hear him clearly. Amen.  – Chris Kottenstette

God, by your light may I be guided through good times and many hardships. If it is your will, let me serve you as a brother, sister, deacon, priest or bishop. Let me be protected by your hand, and loved by your heart, and spoken of by your word. Let me be a sign of your presence everywhere I go, so that I may make your name known throughout the nations. Amen. – Ben Gradert

Dear God, What can I do to serve You? I know there are many different types of jobs and callings, but I would like mine to be the best one for me to serve You. Being missionaries, priests, nuns, deacons or anything else are many ways for me to do Your will. So please help me and others find the right way to do that. Amen. – Carly O’Connor

God, our Father, please help us to recognize our true calling. You have a plan for us all, please help us to realize our vocation. Lord help us know that calling because we might not be able to recognize it on our own. Help us to know what to do. Amen. – Kevin Kurth

Dear God, Help those who have not heard your call. I pray that you will show us the way to find our vocation. Let us know that it’s okay to be uncertain. Help us on life’s journey. Protect and guide us on our way. Help us hear your call. Lead us in your footsteps. I pray this in your name, Jesus Christ. Amen. – Taylor Determan

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