Viatorian Vocation Ministers Br. John Eustice, CSV, and Pre-Associate Dan Masterton have been creative in expanding the reach of vocation ministry, always trying to reach people where they’re at.
They have brought the Viatorian presence to vocation fairs and diocesan conferences near and far, shared snapshots of Viatorian ministry through social media outlets, and created a podcast series, called “VIatorian Voices: Conversations Along the Way.”
Their latest outreach happened over the weekend at Maternity BVM Parish, when they literally reached out to people where they’re at, namely in the pews. They invited religious from various orders to come and meet casually with parishioners during and after Mass on Saturday night and Sunday.
“We called it a “come and be” weekend,” Masterton says. “Where as ‘Come and See’ weekends are more intensive experiences, where discerners come live in with religious homes for a weekend, we thought of this as a gentler, simpler presence.
“We asked religious folks just to come to Mass, introduce themselves, sit in the pews among the parish folks, and then offer a short explanation of their communities and who they are,” he adds. “We also offered coffee and donuts afterwards, around tables setup in the parish hall, just for folks interested in more conversation.”
In all, they drew a half dozen religious to take them up on their offer and ‘come and be.’ They incuded:
* Sr. Maria Brizuela, OSF, Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart – New Lenox, IL
* Fr. Toshio Sato, CM, Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) – St. Louis, MO
* Kathy Brady-Murfin, lay vocation director, Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary + additional members – Batavia, IL
* Sr. Maribeth Howell, OP, Adrian Dominicans – (not sure her home base)
* Sr. Mary Jo Curtsinger, CSJ, Congregation of St. Joseph – La Grange Park, IL
*Sr. Jessi Beck, PBVM, Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Chicago, IL / Dubuque, IA
This softer approach to introducing parishioners to different religious — beyond Viatorians — aligned perfectly with Eustice’s and Masterton’s overarching mission: to grow vocation culture and foster awareness and discernment in young people.