For the second straight year, Viatorians took their vocations message right to the source: Catholic educators and pastoral leaders attending the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) three day conference in Irving, Texas.

Associates Donna and Tim Schwarz

This was the second year the conference took place in person, since the pandemic forced changes, and it drew more than 3,500 people. It is one of the largest private-education association gatherings in the nation, held in fellowship with the Diocese of Dallas.

“At our table in the exhibit hall, we were seeking to have conversations with educators and educational leaders about vocational discernment,” says Pre-Associate Dan Masterton, Vocations Minister. “We prepared a handout with QR codes that connected folks to the activities we use to engage young people when Viatorians visit to discuss vocations.

“Part of that is presenting religious life and priesthood as one of the options,” he adds, “and placing that opportunity as an invitation for them to consider.”

Helping spread Dan spread the word were Associates Tim and Donna Schwarz, who now live in Houston. Together, with Dan, they shared the Viatorian charism, as well as some of the creative ways Viatorians encourage students to be good discerners from a young age.

“It was a very fulfilling experience and we were happy we could be there to help,” Donna says. “The information and materials developed by the vocation team of Br. John Eustice and Pre-associate Dan Masterton are excellent and were very well received.”

Future plans include having multiple Viatorians represent the community at major Catholic gatherings. Already, Dan and Br. John are making plans to attend next year’s NCEA conference, in Pittsburgh.

“We’re keeping an eye on the details,” Dan says, “as we continue to consider ways to support Catholic educators and bring Viatorian creativity to more places in our church.”