Workshop to focus on ‘bringing vocations home’


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

When lifelong Catholic Rosemary Sullivan accepted a position in her diocese’s office of vocations 17 years ago, she was not entirely sure what the word “vocation” meant. “Most Cath­olics don’t understand the process of (vocational) discernment,” she said. Nor are they familiar with the process of becoming a priest or religious brother or sister.


Today, Sullivan is a national leader in Catholic vocational discernment. She serves as the executive director of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors. In addition, Sullivan has served as a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee for Clergy, Consecrated Life & Vocations for the past six years. One of her sons is a priest for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York.

Sullivan invites Catholics in the Diocese of Davenport to join a conversation about vocational discernment at a workshop, Bringing Vocations Home, Dec. 7 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Iowa City. During the interactive, daylong workshop, Sullivan will offer tools and ideas to help empower participants to see their role in helping people discern vocations. “It is about inviting people of God into the con­versation about vocations, not just to priesthood and religious life, but also sacred marriages,” she said.


The workshop, which will include a holy hour, is open to clergy, parish vocation committee members, lay leaders, catechists and youth ministers. Sullivan encouraged those who are unable to attend to pray a rosary for vocations. “I think it’s important that every Catholic understands that they have an equal role in supporting each other’s vocation.”

Workshop participants will have the opportunity to learn what the word “vocation” means, what formation looks like, and about the power of prayer and encouragement. She said USCCB studies show that men generally need to be approached three or more times about their potential to become priests before they will actively consider it. If multiple people mention the man’s potential, he is more likely to take it to prayer. “You don’t know if you’re the first one to say it or the fifth one,” she said. That is why it is important for everyone to play a role.

The workshop is free and includes lunch. Register by Nov. 20 at or call diocesan vocations assistant Colleen Darland with questions at (563) 888-4378.

Darland said of Sullivan, “We are blessed that she is taking time out of her busy schedule to share her experience as a lay person working so closely with vocations in the U.S.”

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