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Turn to Jesus (Article)

A United Witness
Teamwork between diocese, religious orders, and consecrated women results in successful Vocational Awareness Day.

vocations day kids
High school students chat with representatives of various religious orders.

April 7, 2010. Dallas, Texas. This year marked the first ever Vocational Awareness Day, a two-day pilot program launched at John Paul II High School in Dallas this past January 26-27.

Organized by Fr Rudy García, the vocational director for the diocese of Dallas and the chaplain at the University of Dallas, in teamwork with the local Serra Club, Regnum Christi consecrated women Tammy Grady and Florencia Vicuña, and the administrative staff of John Paul II High School, the event was an opportunity to support Bishop Kevin Farrell’s emphasis on vocational promotion by giving united witness to the many forms of consecrated life in the Church.

A path for “real people”

The event involved three-part presentations to a total of 632 students at the school, in groups of about 100 students
vocations day girls
The Vocations Day gave students the chance to talk personally with various religious sisters and priests.
at a time.

The first part was a presentation to the whole group about vocations in general, led Jason Deuterman, the dynamic youth minister at Holy Family parish. In his talk, Deuterman urged the youth to consider that “the world needs heroes, people we can look up to as examples to lead us to God and help us find the purpose of our lives.” He encouraged them not to be afraid to take a closer look at what God may be calling them to, and to talk to one of the many representatives to find out more. This first presentation concluded with the Fishers of Men video, which can be viewed through the USCCB web site here.

In the second part, the students and presenters split up into two main groups. The high school girls were in one location with representatives of female religious orders and groups, including the Sisters of the
organizing team for vocations day
The Vocations Day organizing team, with Fr Rudy García (far right), Tammy Grady, and Serra Club members.
Holy Family of Nazareth, the Sisters of Notre Dame, the consecrated women of Regnum Christi, and the consecrated women of Focolare. The emcee and panel moderator for the women was Naomi LaRue, assistant youth minister at St Ann’s parish in Coppell.

Meanwhile, the high school boys were in another location with representatives of the Capuchins, Cistercians, Vincentians, Legionaries of Christ, and diocesan priests and seminaries from Minnesota and Texas, including Fr Douglas Deshotel, the Bishop-elect for the diocese of Dallas, and Fr Tony Lackland, assistant vocational director for the Dallas diocese and chaplain at Southern Methodist University. Jason Deuterman served as the emcee and panel moderator for the men’s group.

In both groups, the students listened to short vocation stories from the various men and women religious, and then asked questions to the panel of representatives.

In the third part of the presentation, students toured a variety of booths set up
vocational booths at Vocations Day
A view of some of the Vocations Day banners on display.
for the different religious or consecrated communities, asking more personal, one-on-one questions and collecting informational literature while snacking on cookies and hot chocolate.

According to a survey conducted after the event, 92% of the students said that they enjoyed the day; 90% said that they learned more about vocations, and 95% said that they realized that priests and sisters were “just normal people.”

Given the success of this year’s event, the organizing committee is planning to expand the program to other Catholic high schools in the diocese, making it an annual event at each diocesan school.



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